Twitter Spam: Another innovation about to get ruined?

When Russell Beattie was astounded when he wrote, “Nearly a million users, and no spam or trolls” in February, I was a somewhat puzzled that someone as known as Beattie was experiencing spam-free-Twitter since I’d already been experiencing twitter spam by having goofballs like the two you see in this image who’d become “followers” of my tweet stream. Yeah, right.

Adam Ostrow over at Mashable had a counter post, “Is Twitter about to have a big spam problem?” and is experiencing what I am: spammers following lots of others enticing them to come and visit a link, for example, that ends up at a splog or page filled with inane stuff and lots of ads.

In the same way that email was amazing for a long time and then became a frictionless way for any schneeb to inundate us with their garbage and became a burden and much less useful, the same thing is beginning to happen to Twitter now that it’s becoming cool, useful and filled with early adopters and influencers. Either this is addressed early on or it will be abandoned in the same way anyone under 30 “doesn’t do email” as my 19 year old daughter so often states.

All of these problems stem from the ability to remain anonymous on the internet. It’s impossible to enforce authenticity and real identity, so developing tools to fight it (like those to fight email and comment spam) are the only solution. In the meantime, if you get one of these just login to Twitter and “block” these losers.

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  1. John Dowdell on March 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    There are at least two other forms of spam possible on Twitter already:

    1) Bot accounts making it hard to datamine… when I search on “adobe” about 40% of the entries are already automated links to blogposts or other news items. This only affects active search, however.

    2) The recent inclusion of “@someone” messages from the non-followed is convenient, but makes spam possible… a bot can just iterate through a list of Twitter accounts to send a phenteremine message to everyone’s personal reading list. I haven’t seen this happen yet, but it’s plausible abuse.


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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.