Twitter sends direct message with spam lawsuit

Written on:April 5, 2012
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Twitter hopes to make it safe to tweet about the iPad again: The company has filed a lawsuit against five companies that make tools to help really annoying people spam Twitter users with shady offers and dangerous links.

“With this suit, we’re going straight to the source,” Twitter said on its corporate blog Thursday. The idea is to force companies that make it easy for spammers to operate on Twitter to stop providing such products, it said in the blog post. A copy of the complaint was not immediately available.

Twitter spam is definitely annoying. Try sending out a generic tweet containing a term like “iPad” or “iPhone” (a professional necessity in my business) and you’ll likely get a reply from a 20-something lady with no followers dressed in a low-cut blouse encouraging you to click on a link in order to win a free iPad. Obviously, you shouldn’t click on the link: instead, block the person and report the spam through the tool provided on Twitter’s Web interface or on many of the applications used to access Twitter.

However, blocking and reporting is a very inelegant way of stopping mass spammers, as Twitter will acknowledge. The company said that it introduced new anti-spam measures earlier this week and that its link shortener should also detect the worst types of malicious links, but it’s clearly not enough.

“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 company said. We’ll update this post with Twitter’s formal complaint once we can get our hands on a copy.

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