Twitter spam

I’m getting increasingly irritated by spam on twitter. Luckily I don’t (yet) get spammed directly (i.e. unsolicited  @messages to me) but I am getting a lot of “follower spam”. By this I mean being followed by people (presumably bots) that exist only to entice you follow them back or click on links in their tweets which are at best marketing or money making links, or at worst malware or phishing attempts).

If you use one of the many scripts or addons that automatically expand shortened URLS (I use Hyperwords or Troy’s Twitter script for this) you can see those dodgy links for what they are. You can usually recognise these spammers by their odd usernames, often containing a string of numbers, and often they don’t have an avatar.

Worst thing is Twitter isn’t letting me nuke them from my followers list. My list is getting clogged up with these idiots and I can’t easily see my “real” followers (the ones I wish to have following me). Of course you have been able to “block” followers for some time now. Previously when you blocked them they would disappear from your followers list and your follower count would drop, but now they obstinately stay there but are marked as “blocked” with an option to “unblock” – why would I want to do that?

A simple solution could be implemented by twitter. There should  be a mode somewhere in between “public” and “protected”. One where you are in the public domain, but you still get to individually approve followers. Popular celebrities might not like this – imagine @stephenfry having to individually approve hundreds of follower requests per day! But for normal people who get a few new followers a day (of whom at least half will be spammers and marketeers) it would be a great option. An additional option that would be welcomed would be a simple one-click method to report a user as a spammer. Currently you can tweet directly to @spam, but this is a laborious process. There should be a button or context sensitive menu option that will allow you to do it direct from a user’s @name or on the follower list

Get on to it Twitter!


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