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Twitter Sues Spammers

Twitter has sued five companies that it claims that are behind pretty much the vast majority of marketing spam that is on Twitter right now.  The suit names both individuals engaged in spam and companies that have helped proliferate spam. Includes in the suit are TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBudddy and James Lucero and Garland Harris.

In a complaint filed before the U.S District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco division, Twitter alleged that some of the defendants distribute software tools designed to facilitate the abuse of its platform and market it to dupe consumers into violating Twitter’s user agreement, while others operate large numbers of automated Twitter accounts, through which they attempt to trick Twitter users into clicking on links to illegitimate websites. Twitter’s user agreement prohibits spamming in its terms of service, it said.

 This morning, we filed suit in federal court in San Francisco against five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers. 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.

While this is an important step, our efforts to combat spam don’t stop here. Our engineering team continues to implement robust technical solutions that help us proactively reduce spam. For example, earlier this week, our engineers launched new anti-spam measures within Twitter to more aggressively suspend a new type of @ mention spam. Additionally, we now use our link shortener ( to analyze whether a tweeted link leads to malware or malicious content. This helps us prevent users from visiting malicious links and helps us shut down hundreds of thousands of abusive accounts. You can help out, too, by reporting and blocking spammers you encounter on Twitter.

Obviously Twitter is taking serious complaints by users that a vast majority of Twitter is somewhat useless. According to MarketingCharts, users claim that only 36% of Tweets are worth reading:

Twitter users rated only 36% of the tweets they received as worth reading, while they expressed ambivalence about 39% and said 25% were not worth reading, according to [pdf] research released in January 2012 by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), which looked at data gleaned from December 2010 to January 2011. “Question to followers” tweets were the least disliked of the various categories studied, with an 18% probability of being rated not worth reading. By contrast, “me now” tweets regarding current mood or activity were among the most disliked, with just a 22% chance of being rated worth reading.

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Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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  1. Hi Pace, I almost purchased TweetAdder last year and now I’m glad I didn’t. The who notion of ‘automation’ scares me a little. Call me a control freak but I like to know exactly what’s going on with my account. Your article didn’t mention them going after individual users of those tools but we’ve seen that happen in the past.

  2. People are too much in a hurry to hit it big no matter what it takes to do so. Those distributing such software want to make fast money; but pretend to be helping the average twitter user.
    Those patronizing them are also in the same bus; they just believe that the means justifies the end. They want to run faster than their legs. We must all be careful the way we go about pursuing success/wealth without preparing to take the moral route.

  3. This is a great news for us who want to play the IM game fair and square, I guess. What’s next? I think all the sites that promote likes,retweets,followers,diggs,plus one exchanges will be hit big time.

  4. The doomsday style predictions that always results from Pace’s articles are pretty funny and pretty much always wrong. People get sued all the time it doesn’t mean an end to anything actually if you look at the amount of people spamming twitter post lawsuit it is probably going to be 5x pre. Just like every other ‘grey, black’ whatever hat you wish to call it. When someone comes out more go in. The news coverage of it helps proliferate it. Twitters only real problem is that people are so willing to interact and click links from people they don’t know. That will automatically mean people posting links.

  5. Of course I’ve got to disagree here – Really how do we build our lists? By bringing in relevant traffic, twitter CAN BE a good source for that –

    I’ve looked over several of these tools that they’ve mentioned, and I’m sure at some point they’ve actually helped bring me optins from one network or another, the real question for me is if any of you feel that this will effect our bottom line when it comes to list generation.

    In some niches I was able to pay about $0.10 per click, with a 30% optin rate, increase my lists (sometimes substantially on new lists) over a period of a week, 100 leads for $30 – Even with a low 5% conversion rate, your gonna make mad money. Is it going to be possible to replace some of these providers? In this case I actually hate to call them spammers, have any of you ever read a tweet? It’s all spam anyway ( “Walking my dog, he likes ducks” ) ( “Eating lunch at bobinos sammich shop” ) ( “OMG this guy looked at me during dinner at mcdonalds” )

    Please be warned, the previous tweets are probably actual tweets from users of the service, but I don’t care to verify that at this point in time.

    So point made, twitter is all spam – They’re just mad because someone else is making money on the service that they can’t figure out how to monetize.

    1. My thoughts exactly. 64% of tweets are irrelevant because nobody cares which sandwich someone is eating.

      With one of my sites, I offer an incentive if users tweet a given number of links to my site. Some users who created a new account were banned for spam after creating these legitmate human tweets.

      All of this anti-spam garbage has gone too far. Twitter can not stop spammers no matter how expensive their lawyers get. I hope the judge laughs in their faces and assesses damages for bringing a frivolous claim. They need to take a step back and look at what they are doing here. They just sued someone for posting text messages on the Internet.

  6. Any business is popular due to spam if you look Facebook in initial days they spammed a lot ..These spammers are responsible for success of any business and when the companies become popular than call it as a spammer because they don’t need them ,tweet adder,tweet attacks are available for more than 3 or 4 years .Why they realize now that they are spamming why not previously because they are popular now ..Also when you sign up for facebook,google+ and others they say that if you wanna bring users from gmail,hotmail ,yahoo mail ..This is spam too and we can sue facebook,google + ..No one is spammer if you look in a proper way ..and everyone is spammer if you look in other way ..

  7. If you’re going to construct an application to spam twitter then what kind of fool do you have to be to brand it as “Tweet Attacks”. I’d love to hear how the defence try to justify that in court.

  8. Interesting views from both sides of the fence, I have always found twitter good for indexing links. Most of the tweets are garbage anyway, so cannot see this doing much good for overall quality of twitter posts.

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