Twitter takes legal action against spammers

Twitter takes legal action against spammersTwitter has finally acknowledged and stepped up its pressure against spammers, who wreak havoc on the social networking site. Twitter has filed a suit in the federal court in San Francisco asking for a trial by jury against five of what it calls “the most aggressive tool providers and spammers”.

Twitter identifies the perpetrators as Skootle Corporation, JL4 Web Solutions based in the Philippines and five individuals. It believes by taking out these entities, it would have dealt with the problem at a root level. “With this suit, we’re going straight to the source. 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 suit also mentions how these defendants will be held responsible for their misconduct and how it further wants to protect the interest of the platform and users from blatantly abusive activities. Their actions go against Twitter’s Terms of Service, which the defendants automatically agree to by opening an account, the suit says.

Ideally there are two ways in which spammers go about their work. Spammers create Twitter users or handles in the name of non-existent people and use these accounts to follow a number of users; they use these accounts to randomly tag people and insert links to malicious or potentially dangerous websites. The other approach is to create accounts that respond to a certain keyword, these are called bots. These bots reply with a user defined pre canned message when any account mentions a specific keyword. As the network continues to grow and becomes more influential, the modus operandi of spammers keeps changing. To give you a sense, Twitter has 140 million active users with 340 million tweets being posted every day.

Twitter has also mentioned the amount that it’s shelling out of its pocket to take on spammers; the highest amount is about $300,000 (£189,167) to take on TweetBuddy. It has launched an attack both from a legal as well as a technological standpoint, with their engineers announcing a new anti-spam campaign to take on mentions spam as well as using t.co, the URL shortening service to identify malicious links.

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