Dealing with Twitter Spam

I'm not even close to being surprised, but the amount of Twitter Spam I've been getting lately is on the rise. Sure, it's nice to have your follower count go up, but when the only messages coming from them are for you to come check out their poker site and receive $50 in bonus cash, the trade off is just not worth it. Besides, letting these spammers stick around only makes the place a little worse for everybody.

So how should you deal with spammers? Easy; block them.

Ya see, Twitter has a nice set of rules that is designed to keep the spammers out. Of course that's just not going to happen entirely since any time you have access to a large number of people, the spammers want to come piss in that pool. But, by taking the 10 seconds to go an block the spammer on twitter, you are actively being part of the solution.

Twitter's software is getting pretty good at catching the spammers. Twice this week I have received notices that I have a new follower. An hour later when I went to check out their account, they had already been blocked. I call that efficient!

I'm one of those guys who leaves the email notifications turned on so that every time I get a new follower, I receive an email. I do this because I usually will go and follow the people who follow me. I read the incoming email, click the link to go check out the person's twitter profile and I decide if they are a spammer.

What is considered spam?
When I view the person's twitter account, I look at the following:
1) How many followers do they have?
2) How many people are they following?
3) How many tweets do they send out?
4) How many tweets include a link or some sort of offer?

If they have 8 or 10 (or more) times less followers than they are following, this is a good indication that they are using external software to follow mass quantities of people hoping that they will reciprocate by following them. They are getting blocked.

If they are following more than 100 people and they have less than 10 tweets, I'll check the content of their tweets to see if they look “spammy.” I usually just give it the sniff test. If something smells funny, for example, 5 tweets and 3 of them have a link back to the same site, I'll block them.

If somebody has sent 5000 or more tweets, I won't block these ones, but I'm less likely to follow them, too. Typically I find that these guys are responding to EVERY tweet they see come in. That's totally fine. I have no problem with that. I'm just not going to follow them back as I don't need to read all their response messages.

Twitter's software looks for all of these things as well, so it won't be too long before your spammy follwers end up getting the proverbial boot by Twitter. But, it's such a nice feeling to think that you've helped get them kicked off the site. Well, I know it works for me.

Not sure how to block somebody on twitter? Check out this post here.

2 Comments

  1. Sara on October 17, 2008 at 3:25 am

    The other criteria to I use to determine if I should block the account: The date that it was created. Chances are if it's new within the day and they're following 500 twitterers, SPAM! and promptly blocked.



  2. teraom on October 17, 2008 at 11:30 am

    spammers take advantage fof the fact that about 12% of the twitters follow who so ever follow. it ll be good if twitter can set a follow/ following ratio and a minimum number..