Fighting Twitter Spam – Twitter Will Need Help

by Joshua Odmark

I recently had someone follow me on twitter that had 39,000+ friends (in other words, they were following that many people).

How can someone possibly follow that many people? Clearly they are not on twitter to follow 39,000 people. Their theory is that if they can follow the maximum amount of people that Twitter will allow them to follow, that a percentage of them will follow them back. Thus increasing the amount of people that are following their twitter account. Which gives them an audience to broadcast their “tweets” to.

This is spam. This is devaluation.

An associate recently sent me a link to  If you join this site, they promise to increase your followers into the thousands in a very short amount of time.

This is spam.

How can they do this? The idea behind this site is for every member that joins the site, all the previous members will follow this person. Thus, as the site gets larger from members signing up, the “benefit” they can provide the registered user increases. This is a good model considering the reason they are on the site is to increase their followers.

This is devaluation.

A great benefit of Twitter is the ability to gain connections to like-minded individuals that allows you to share short bursts of communication that benefits the followers of the individual sending the transmission.

Services such as TweepMe are popping up all over the Internet with the purpose of gaming the Twitter system for some sort of measurable gain.

Twitter’s largest problem is going to be combating spam. It is the same problem Google is facing and will continue to face.

One of the problems is how easy it is to game the system with the Twitter API. In just two hours, I was able to replicate’s service and setup a system of cron jobs that effectively maxed out the Twitter API daily limitations. I can autofollow and then unfollow people over a certain period of time. My script will autofollow people based on search results. It is a very handy script that allows me to create a valuable twitter account automatically. I am not using it to game the system by gaining as many followers as I can, I am using it to find people who WILL be interested in my tweets.

Part of the problem is that twitter gives anyone the ability to gain access to search results on a massive scale on a daily basis. By logging these “tweets” from people who display them publicly (anyone on Twitter), I can create a massive amount of relationships between the tweets and myself.

This opens the door to many people who would consider black hat tactics.

Personally, I think the Twitter API is fantastic. I love spending time playing around with all of the data that can be retrieved through their API. It truly is inspiring to pull the data locally and manipulate it into something that can be useful. For example, I can pull tweets relating to backpacking in Washington State to compile a backpacking in Washington State resource. With innovative search techniques, I could build a valuable resource for anyone interested in that niche. Now plug in any topic you can imagine into the above example.

When all the cards are on the table, I believe Twitter’s biggest problem will be combating spam. Facebook is going to run into the same problem as Twitter. And Google has already been fighting this problem for years.

I remember a distinct point in time where I started to notice the Google Results being less accurate due to people spamming their way to the top.

It is only a matter of time before Twitter is taken over by spam.

When there were reports of Twitter being purchased, I instantly thought of Google. If spam is the one thing that could topple Twitter, it would make sense to strike a deal with the company who has the best chance at beating it.

Twitter spam has been minimal up until this point, but you WILL see it become an issue yet this year.

How Twitter handles it will make or break them.

Here are a couple resources aimed to stop the twitter spam:

Stop Twitter Spam

Twitter Blog About Spam

TechCrunch on Twitter Spam

Mashable on Twitter Spam

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2 Responses to “Fighting Twitter Spam – Twitter Will Need Help”

  1. [...] Fighting Twitter Spam – Twitter Will Need Help [...]

  2. Great post!

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