Should we organize against Twitter spammers?

Note what causes Twitter to suspend an account: Violations of their automation and spam policies are probably the most common cause of account suspensions, because except for child pornography or privacy violations Twitter says they do NOT “pre-screen content [nor] remove potentially offensive content.” So other than spam, content alone won’t usually get an account suspended. However, Twitter will consider suspending an account if there is a legal (copyright, trademark, privacyimpersonationinappropriate parody), or law enforcement issue involved.

What can YOU do against a Twitter spammer?

First, report them. Second, teach others how to report spammers. A good link to share when educating others is http://j.mp/ReportSpammers.

And while Twitter is always trying to find ways to automatically find spam accounts without human intervention, the faster a lot of spam reports reach twitter, the faster it is likely to be then checked and potentially suspended. Which raises an interesting point: Should you not only report spammers to Twitter, but to other users as well, to try to get them to report the spammer? @littlefluffycat pointed out that if you add the hashtag #takebacktwitter to a tweet about a user, other people will report or proactively block that user as well as they think appropriate.

I don’t think there’s much point in blocking a user in advance, since with thousands of new spam accounts all the time, the odds that you’ve blocked the one that will tweet you before they get suspended is pretty low. But more concerning is that when users organize against other users it’s always possible for someone to try to abuse the system—to try to harm someone who doesn’t deserve it by getting others users to unwittingly ostracize the person. If a Twitter account gets a large number of blocks or spam reports it may be checked or automatically suspended, and it would concern me if that happened unfairly.

Plus, blocking/reporting as spam doesn’t guaranteed they will be suspended, it just eventually causes an automatic (or sometimes manual) check of their account. It would be nice if there were more Twitter “admins” who could check accounts for spam and suspend faster as needed, but you’ll never beat an automated system (bots creating spam accounts) by throwing more humans at the problem.

What do you think?

Should Twitter users find ways to organize themselves to fight spammers?

One thought on “Should we organize against Twitter spammers?

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