Twitter is cracking down hard on spammers, who in turn have been taking shots at the integrity of the micro-blogging site.
If you're an active Twitter user you've likely Followed at least one or two accounts which seemed legitimate on the surface, only to discover their Tweets were essentially a stream of affiliate links, or some other type of Internet spam.
This is annoying, at best. At worst, it clouds your stream with garbage which you are not interested in.
Personally, I use my Twitter account to promote my writing with links to my posts, and offer glimpses into my life; pictures, videos, news and general observations. I respond to @mentions and Direct Messages and engage like the actual human being I am.
Spammers pretty much just send out reams of affiliate links.
Spamming has become such a problem for the world's second most popular social media network that they are beginning to strike back, in a big way. Last week they filed a lawsuit against some of the biggest providers of tools used to make spamming easier on Twitter. Among these are Tweetadder, TweetAttacks, and Tweetbuddy. These services make it easier to Follow and be Followed by others, which is exactly what spammers want. The more Followers they have the more likely it is for them to get some clicks on their affiliate links.
However, Tweetadder is also used by people trying to legitimately grow their Twitter accounts by providing relevant search terms that help users find people they might like to Follow. At least, that's how I use it. I have connected with thousands of writers and social media managers using Tweetadder. I don't spam, nor do I push affiliate links, but I use Tweetadder.
I am also very much aware of the spam problem Twitter is having and I applaud their decision to take action. It makes sense. As someone who has used Twitter almost from the beginning, I miss the days when it was mostly spam free; when you could Follow someone without worrying that they might fill your stream with affiliate links, and could rely on Twitter to be a go-to source for news and information that was interesting.
I also remember the days when Twitter would regularly go down. The Fail Whale was a common occurrence in those days and something we all dealt with. It was annoying but we were all confident Twitter was just experiencing growing pains and would eventually solve their growth issues. The spam problem, however, is something altogether different. Left unchecked, spammers could eventually make Twitter un-useable, or at least an annoyance rather than an effective communication tool.
Like millions of other people I am anxious to see how this all works out; whether or not this tactic works and helps Twitter control spam on their service. I am not convinced this is going to have the big impact we all hope it will, but only time will tell.