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Micro-blogging platform unveils stats in an attempt to assure its users it's winning the battle
In an attempt to show off its efforts at reducing spam across the micro-blogging platform, Twitter just unveiled new stats that show it's been doing a pretty good job at this.
A little over a year ago, about 6% of tweets were spam. That number gradually rose as Twitter continued to gain interest all the way up until August 2009 when it reached a peak of almost 11% of tweets being spam.
I'm sure you've all experienced a tweet which could be categorized as spam, like the occasional follower who wants you to check out their erotic Website or other useless service. Twitter defines spam as a variety of different behaviors that range from, "insidious to annoying." On its blog, the company went into detail,
"Posting harmful links to phishing or malware sites, repeatedly posting duplicate tweets, and aggressively following and un-following accounts to attract attention are just a few examples of spam on Twitter."
Twitter said this is obviously an ongoing battle and it will continue to work on reducing spam across its platform. As of February 2010, Twitter has brought spam down to about 1% of tweets. It's still a lot given that Twitter is seeing 50 million Tweets per day, which equals 600 tweets per second. So don't be surprised if you encounter some occasional spam, but it's definitely a sign Twitter has been working hard at reducing this.
The startup said, if you want to get involved in reducing Twitter spam, just click the "report for spam" button on any suspicious profile page.
The company assured its users, "like it or not, as the system becomes more popular, more and more spammers will try to do their thing. We’re constantly battling against spam to improve the Twitter experience and we're happy to report that it's working."
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What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests.
Where did the idea for Twitter come from?
Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.
How is Twitter built?
Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes.
We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.
How do you make money from Twitter?
There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.
In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet.
At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.
Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.
What's next for Twitter?
We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users.
We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.