Some Twitter spammers got caught out by our name change

UPDATE: Twitter has finally informed me they are looking into this issue:

If you see anyone’s tweets beginning with “Tweetsmarter: ” please report them for spam.

Do NOT report someone simple for including @Tweetsmarter. It’s only tweets that do NOT use the “@” and start with exactly the username followed by “: ” that are automatically reposting tweets.

This will NOT get them automatically blocked from or search or suspended. It is merely a notification to Twitter that they are engaging in one of the practices that Twitter defines as spam: They are automatically reposting our tweets as their own. Including our conversations.

Chats being echoed by retweeting bots

You’ll be helping users that we chat with in particular, which gets really annoying to people we are trying to talk to when everything we say is repeated to them several times by a variety of accounts..

Meaning if we send you a message, suddenly our tweet to you will appear again and again from several accounts. Thanks to @gilman_gal for suffering through a conversation with us and seeing everything we said to her repeated by many other accounts over and over to bring this to our attention.

Many of them became visible suddenly because they had been smart enough to automatically remove “Twitter_Tips: ” from their tweets, but haven’t noticed the name change to TweetSmarter yet :) Some of them have already caught on and adjusted their rss-to-twitter feed string regex to remove our username, but for a little while, several are exposed.

What makes this spam?

Here’s where and how Twitter defines automatically retweeting others’ tweets as your own as spam, saying “Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming are:

Will this work?

If by work, you mean will these users be blocked from or search or suspended, the answer is…maybe. Twitter takes a number of factors into account whether to review and take action on an account. The number of people reporting an account for spam is one of those factors.

If they are blocked or suspended, they can contact Twitter and be unblocked from search or reinstated. I’m all for educating people about the right way to use Twitter! But I’ve tried communicating with these kinds of accounts in the past, and they often don’t read tweets to them. They are mainly or completely automated. So the only way to educate them is for Twitter to take action. Then they contact Twitter to ask what happened and can learn.

Can’t Twitter do this?

Twitter relies partly on us in some cases to help determine what is and isn’t spam. They are getting better and better all the time at identifying accounts that are completely spam. It’s the automated accounts that are only mostly or partly spam where our help makes a bigger difference.

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