Twitter sues spammers to beef up security

larry the twitter bird

If you’re sick of Twitter spam, join the club — a club that now includes Twitter, which is taking spammers to court.

Thursday morning, the social media company filed a lawsuit against some of the biggest, baddest perpetrators of Twitter spam. On the Twitter blog this afternoon, we read that the company is specifically targeting the five most-used tools that make Twitter spam possible.

“With this suit, we’re going straight to the source,” the company’s statement reads. “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.”

An email from Twitter HQ to VentureBeat further revealed that even though the startup’s large staff of anti-spam and security engineers are putting up “strong safeguards” against spam content, the company has decided that now is the time for legal action.

“The defendants were in clear violation of the Twitter Rules,” wrote a company spokesperson in the email. “Taking legal action sends a clear message to all would-be spammers that there are serious and costly consequences to violating our Rules with their annoying and potentially malicious activity. We’ve focused on tool providers; they have willfully created tools that enable others to propagate spam on Twitter.”

Of the five targeted tool providers, one has already been yanked off the web: TweetAttacks. Here’s how that software works. Brace yourself for maximum scumbaggishness:

Other programs and people named in the first lawsuits from Twitter include TweetBuddy, TweetAdder, James Lucero (best known for his how to get Justin Bieber to follow you page), and Garland Harris of Troption.com.

“Taking legal action is just one tactic in our anti-spam arsenal,” our Twitter contact continued. “This week we rolled out a system to more aggressively suspend a new type of @mention spam; last year we implemented a tool to determine if links posted on Twitter lead to malware or malicious content in order to protect users from them, and we’re actively growing our spam engineering team to create scalable technical solutions.”

Also, Twitter recently acquired Dasient, a security firm the company says is important to the growing startup’s future plans for a secure and spam-free user experience.


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