Twitter Ups The Fight Against Spammers, Still Isn’t Doing Enough

Over on the official Twitter blog, there’s an update of a new way that all of us can help in the mounting battle against spam on the network. Twitter has added a one-click way to report any user as a spammer – which is now visible on everybody’s profile – and once done their ‘Trust and Safety’ team will move into action, investigate the alleged nuisance and act accordingly.

Also, once a profile is reported, it’s also automatically blocked.

It’s important that a team is involved and that this isn’t in any way automated as this naturally limits the impact of false accusations and, as Twitter states, cannot be used to “incite an angry mob” against an account.

Previously, the only way to alert Twitter of a spammer account was to send a message to the official @spam account. I assume this will still be an option. And while this one-click, take care of everything approach is a step forward, it’s likely to only have a marginal impact against the growing spam problem.

What the network really needs is an Akismet or Gmail-style filter system that is configurable at the user level so that it learns. Because Twitter is an open network, and anybody can contact anybody else, whether they’re following each other or not, the biggest concern on Twitter right now is reply spam. (Closely followed by abuse of trending topics.)

I also think we need a stricter sign-up process, possibly via a subscription model. Because it’s so easy to set up a disposable Twitter account using a disposable email address, blocking one user doesn’t mean the end of your problems, as another one is right around the corner. And another one. And another one. All managed by the same despicable teams. This is a proactive move by Twitter, but because it doesn’t really tackle these existing concerns, the benefits are likely to be negligible.