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Twitter spent $700,000 fighting spam

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In the last year Twitter Inc. has spent $700,000 to fight five spamware services and spammers.

Now the company wants its money back and for the spamming to stop.

According to court documents filed by Twitter in California on April 5, the defendants include TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBuddy, James Lucero, and Garland E. Harris.

These spammers and spamware creators have negatively affected “Twitter users’ experience, damaging users’ goodwill toward Twitter, and causing Twitter users to terminate their Twitter accounts due to dissatisfaction,” the company claimed in the court filing.

Here’s how much Twitter has spent to fight each defendant:

“Specifically, Twitter has incurred costs of at least $100,000 to engage in anti-spam efforts to combat the wrongdoing of Lucero, at least $75,000 to engage in anti-spam efforts to combat the wrongdoing of Harris, at least $75,000 to engage in anti-spam efforts to combat the wrongdoing of TweetAdder, at least $300,000 to engage in anti-spam efforts to combat the wrongdoing of TweetBuddy, and at least $150,000 to engage in anti-spam efforts to combat the wrongdoing of TweetAttacks.”

TweetBuddy, whose website was down Monday, is described in the court filing as a Web-based computer program that automates the process of creating Twitter accounts and sending tweets. Twitter argues that such automation violates its terms of service (TOS) and mislead users into thinking such activity was permissible on the site.

TweetAdder is similar to TweetBuddy in that it allows people to create automated Twitter accounts used to spam users using the @replies feature. TweetAttacks also employed a similar business model, but in late March 2012 the company said that its software was “no longer available for licence in response to actions by Twitter” even though it “continues to support certain customs,” according to the court filing.

Twitter’s terms of service state that users cannot overload, flood, or spam its site using automated services. However, Twitter alleges that Harris operates more than 129,000 accounts “which send spam tweets linking to websites promoted by Harris.”

Lucero employed comparable tactics. He specifically preyed on Justin Bieber fans, using automated accounts to direct people to fraudulent websites where they could learn how to get the pop singer to follow them on Twitter.

No court date has been set.

Photo by Rosaura Ochoa