It’s getting completely out of control.
This afternoon, I received @ replies from three different Twitter users who do not follow me, all of which contained spammy content. All three messages were obviously automatically generated based on a key word I’d included in a tweet:
- Spammer 1 invited me to a “Free Procrastination Seminar” after I used the word procrastination in a tweet.
- Spammer 2 pointed me and a Twitter friend to a site that sells face masks after I suggested that my friend wear a face mask when cleaning out a dusty hay barn.
- Spammer 3 pointed me and a Twitter friend to a site that sells MacBook Pro batteries after my friend and I had a Twitter exchange about his MBP battery.
It’s bad enough that everyone and his uncle is trying to use Twitter to promote themselves and their businesses. But now they’ve set up empty Twitter accounts and are using automated tools to send out Tweets that promote their products or services based on key word matches. That means they could be sending out hundreds or thousands of advertising tweets per day, clogging up your Twitter timeline with their crap.
I, for one, am sick of it.
There are two things you can do to help stop Twitter spam:
- Follow @spam on Twitter. This is a special account monitored by the folks at Twitter. Once you follow @spam, it will follow you back. You can then send direct messages to @spam when you want to report a spammer. For example, you might compose a message like this:
d spam @spamguy123 is sending me unsolicited advertisements.
The folks at Twitter investigate legitimate spam complaints. In addition, @spam sends out periodic tweets about using Twitter safely, so you might pick up a few useful tips.
- Block spammers. If you get followed by a spammer or received an @reply with spammy content, take a moment to block that Twitter user. The folks at Twitter take blocking into consideration when evaluating spam reports and account activity.
You can learn more about reporting Spam to Twitter here.
Please don’t just ignore the spammers. Do something to stop them. Only if we all act can we get a better handle on the situation. The folks at Twitter hate spam even more than we do. It clogs their bandwidth and stretches the resources of their servers. If we help them identify spammers, they’ll help us by suspending their accounts.
Spread the word.
October 16 Update: A new Twitter feature makes it quicker and easier to report spam. Learn more about it here.