Twitter turns to its users for fighting spam

Implementing a Report as Spam tool, Twitter gets smart about killing spam

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
October 14, 2009
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/b2f

Tell me if this situation sounds familiar: You're browsing your Twitter account, reading some tweets, searching silly queries. You glance over at your side dashboard and you compare the number of "following" vs. "followers." Interestingly, it looks like twice as many people are following you as the last time you checked! It must've been that really clever tweet from last week. Out of curiosity, you decide to peruse your list of followers and find that there's an uncommonly large number of skimpily clad women taking photos of themselves in mirrors for their avatars.

You, my friend, are a victim of spam.

Thankfully, Twitter yesterday updated its site so that users like you and me can help the greater powers in the fight against these attention-seeking fake followers. Now there's a button underneath the "message" and "block" actions that allows anyone to report any profile as a spam account. In order to prevent potential abuses of the new feature, any reported profiles remain online until Twitter's Trust and Safety team evaluates the report and decides on a proper course of action. Either way, reporting someone automatically blocks them from following or replying to you.

report spam on Twitter 1

 report spam on Twitter 2

It's about time that Twitter launched this tool, as spam still appears to be a pretty significant problem on the growing social networking site.

Unfortunately for users, some manifestations of spam aren't as passive and harmless as the kind described in the scenario above. The most dangerous type of spam comes in the form of harmful links that have the ability to damage a computer's system or steal information stored on it. Thankfully, Twitter is addressing this issue by checking the real URLs that shortened URLs link back to.

Beyond those issues, duplicate Twitter accounts and repeat tweeters simply cheat the system, watering down the effectiveness of Twitter as a whole.

All in all, these new spam-fighting tools should definitely improve the quality of Twitter streams.

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