Twitter spam… yuck.
Spambots on Twitter are really starting to get me down.
I logged in today to find 2 new followers, but my excitement quickly took a dive when I realized they were obviously spam. One was a redhead in what I think was supposed to be a micro-shirtdress and the other was some old guy whose entire page was filled with links to real estate options. And there was also that suggestive “@–” message from “loljasmine” about getting on my webcam and having some “fun.”
This whole porn spamming deal brings back bad memories of MySpace. Remember when MySpace was infiltrated by porn sites and pedophiles? (Actually I think this demographic still overruns the social network…) After the 30th come-on from “susie” and “maria”, I decided it was time to jump ship and give up my MySpace account. It got to be overwhelming to be constantly bombarded by porn spam messages, as well as seeing raunchy pictures pop up as profile pics left and right when searching for friends. I’m in favor of the whole social networking idea, but wading past so much spam to get to the real stuff became exhausting and annoying. It’s plausible to think this is in part why MySpace lost some of its popularity to Facebook converts. Facebook just does a better job making sure their users are real people. It always befuddled me why MySpace didn’t step up and crack down on the amount of porn on their network with NewsCorp as their big-time owner. MySpace lost out on a hefty percentage of advertising revenue since businesses were reluctant to pay for space among porn sites – it’s tacky.
I’m beginning to see a similar trend start on Twitter where porn is being pimped to users.
Spamming was a really big problem in the earlier days of tweeting when I seemed to be deleting outrageous and raunchy followers or messages everyday; recently, I’ve noticed a slight dip in the problem but it’s far from being resolved. (In part, the dip can be credited to Twitter doing some intense housecleaning and deleting spambot accounts from the network.) Nevertheless, there is still a constant stream of spam tweets everyday.
I found a really good graphic depicting the percentage of tweets that are spam for every 100 tweets. (The graphic also groups the remainder of tweets in amusing categories.) Apparently Thursdays are peak days for spam – I’ll have to keep an eye out now.
4 spams out of 100 ain’t bad, but it still gets annoying… particularly when it’s on a daily basis.
What’s even more frustrating is the lack of a “report spam” button on Twitter. It wouldn’t be that difficult to add this tool and allow users to flag spam right when they see it. Twitter currently has a “block” feature for these dubious accounts, but it takes numerous blocks from different users before these accounts are flagged to be removed. Typically some amount of time passes before this happens. The current process to flag spam is multi-step and offers no quick fix. Users must follow an account called “spam,” then copy the URL and send a direct “@spam” message to the account with the complaint.
That many steps just to flag spam? Many people (myself included) are not up to the task.
In order to prevent Twitter from turning into the next MySpace, a “report spam” button is really not too much to ask. (It would make things so much easier for the rest of us.)
In the meantime while we all wait, TechCrunch says Twitter desktop clients Twhirl and Seesmic Desktop are getting this coveted “report as spam” button. The button will flag spammers to Twitter or a separate database of users and then Twhirl and Seesmic can remove the spammer from its client apps after a sufficient number of votes against it. They will also be manually checking to make sure these alleged spammers are actually spammers and not just annoying Tweeters. (Only downside seems to be you still need to follow the Twitter spam account for this button to work, but it seems to be a one time thing. Hurrah for that.)