Twitter spammers are annoying entities that are an unfortunate part of the service, and it doesn’t look like that they will be going away anytime soon. Until Twitter finds a way to automatically get rid of them, it will take some participation from its user base to keep the site clean and free from fake accounts, phishing scams, and nasty viruses.
Below are the three main methods that Twitter spammers use to try and infiltrate the lives of innocent users, and then we look at their most current solutions. All of these are officially suggested by Twitter, so you should know that this is the most efficient way to deal with things as of right now. Are these solutions perfect? Of course not, but they are the best that we have right now.
“Official” Twitter Emails
You’ve likely received email from an address like “email@example.com” before, and the message probably looked exactly like official Twitter correspondence. As obviously fake as it is, it’s a growing problem, but it’s also an issue that has existed across multiple services for a while now. In most cases, it’s a simple phishing attempt to coerce you into typing your information into a fake login page. In others, it could lead to even more headache-inducing situations.
If you ever get in a situation such as this, just forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. After that, delete the email from your inbox, and do not download any attachments. Twitter should eventually be able to take care of it.
Peculiar DMs From Friends
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It may be just me, but I’ve always thought direct messages (DMs) are one of Twitter’s lesser-used features. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t use it, and neither do my friends. That’s one reason that I always find it to be very strange if I receive a DM from someone. I’m even more on my guard if the message contains a link to a site that I don’t know about.
If you receive an odd DM from a friend or one that is obviously spammy, do your buddy a favor and let them know that they have been hijacked. Also, remind them that this could have been a result of them giving access to their account to a bad app. A little research on all of their apps could go a long way, and a simple password change could help as well.
Tweets From People You Don’t Know
Ever gotten a Tweet from someone that you absolutely do not know? Yep, it happens. If you check the user’s profile and see that it is plastered with similar-looking Tweets and each one contains a link to an unknown website, there’s a 99% chance it’s a spammer. These links will likely take you to malicious material or yet another phishing attempt, so do yourself a favor and don’t click them.
You can easily report and stop Twitter spammers by visiting their profile, clicking the person icon, and then selecting report @username for spam. It’s needless to say, please use this feature responsibly, so don’t report someone just because you don’t like them. This will send a Bat-signal to Twitter’s caped crusaders, and in the meantime, the user will not be able to follow or reply to you. It doesn’t mean that there will be an immediate suspension, but at least you won’t have to deal with them.
Above are the three main methods of Twitter’s notorious spammers, and yes, it seems like we are just going to have to deal with them for now. A while back I wrote about some possible methods that Twitter could use to fight spammers, but alas, they haven’t used any of them. (I would expect some compensation if they did, though.)
If you’d like to target spammers,is a service that sifts through your followers and finds out which ones are known for spam, and it even includes profanity filters as well as integration with WordPress. On the other hand, you could look at StatusPeople which scans for fake accounts or ChumpDump which cleans up your followers in the form of a game.
In the meantime, I guess we’ll just have to cope. Thankfully, there are some basic steps we can follow to create a walled fortress to stay safe and not get hacked on Twitter.
How do you stop Twitter spammers in their tracks? Do you think that there is a better way than what Twitter has already provided?