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Getting Rid of Spammers on Twitter

One of the first things we talk to clients about, with regard to Twitter, is quality of audience. So much emphasis seems to be placed on numbers – how many fans do you have? how many followers can you amass? But numbers are really inconsequential for businesses using social media unless each one of those thousands of followers are relevant to your business. Which they never are, often because of spam accounts.

Yesterday, Twitter announced a new tool in the fight against spammers – the Report as Spam button. (Desktop Twitter apps Seesmic and TweetDeck introduced similar functions earlier this year.)

If you’re on Twitter, you’ve seen these spam accounts. They come in several forms. There are the shell accounts with random usernames and an initial tweet but nothing else. My best guess is that these are set up by the people who sell their “get 400 Twitter followers” services – and apparently Twitter users pony up some cash and “buy” useless followers like Rocco_465. There are the porn spammers who hope that you click links politely asking you to take a look at their newest pictures or video. There are the folks who want to sell you the follower services mentioned above. And there are more. Lots more.

These accounts are worthless to the global conversation that is Twitter. They are nothing but annoyances. We’ve always been able to block them. But to report them to Twitter (as violations of the Terms of Service) required a notification to @spam – not a huge ordeal in and of itself but when your account gets slammed with 30 spam followers at once, it can get onerous. So, a spam button.

We encourage you to use it when appropriate to help keep the Twitter stream clear and to encourage real conversation.

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