Twitter Sues Twitter Spam Tool Providers

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 6, 2012
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Internet, Twitter

Twitter in its current form is abused by spammers, usually with the help of automated tools that support multiple profiles, auto following and posting, custom messages and a lot of other goodies that put Twitter use on autorun. Reasons for spamming Twitter differ, from pushing out mass advertisement over SEO purposes to distributing malware and other malicious content.

A recent blog post on Twitter reveals that the company has started to pursuit spammers on the network more aggressively.  Instead of hunting down individual users, the company decided to go after manufacturers of tools that can be used to automate spam generation on Twitter.

This morning, we filed suit in federal court in San Francisco against five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers. With this suit, we’re going straight to the source. By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.

The blog post does not mention the names of the tools or companies / individuals who are responsible for their creation.

Twitter in addition has implemented new measures on the network to better protect its users from @ mentioning spam. Twitter users will furthermore notice that all links posted on Twitter are now routed through the companies own link shortener. While you will still see the original url shortener in tweets on the site, you will notice that the link itself is first pointing to Twitter's own service

From there it is then redirected to the original target of the link. Twitter has implemented the change to better protect users from visiting malicious links, and to shut down user accounts who post malicious or spam links on Twitter. According to the blog post, hundreds of thousands of abusive accounts have been identified this way.

Closing Words

The implementation of new safe guards on Twitter is long overdue, with spam being so rampant on the popular site. It is however not really clear if Twitter will succeed in court against creators of such tools, especially so if the creators are not falling under U.S. jurisdiction.

What's your take on this development? Lets discuss in the comment section below.


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  1. Sigh said on April 8, 2012 at 4:45 am

    This is a completely disappointing attitude by Twitter.

    “Shut down the providers!”

    New providers will simply spring up, smaller and harder to target. New abuse methods will appear, making the time and effort spent a cycle of WASTE.

    Improve your own service, which has- among the spam and other problems- recently (or rather, for the past year) been albeit occasionally but still agonizingly slow for no announced reason.

    I wish Twitter would have such a passionate attitude when legislators call on them saying they’ll be shut down if they don’t crack down on users that spread libel and assist in copyright infringement. Maybe I’d still use Twitter.

    Not that I claim to have any solution myself.

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