How To Identify Spammers In Twitter

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by Wasim Ismail on May 1, 2012

There was once a time when Twitter was still a small social media network.  However today, as the network has gone the “mainstream” route – it now boasts of having more than 4 million users, making it one of the most visited websites in the world today. And considering that it started out as a website where tech, gadget freaks and social network addicts hanged out – Twitter is certainly a bigger network now with celebrity users and hoards of users from all over the world.  Unfortunately, along with this popularity – numerous bots and spammers have also become a constant in Twitter as well.

The presence of these spammers has become a problem primarily because Twitter does not have any regulations with regards spammers and bots – and it doesn’t have a way of finding out who’s who, or how take it out of their systems, unless a report is sent accordingly.

Personally, I never enjoyed receiving spam messages in my email, or having to follow someone that I initially thought was interesting but later found out that was actually one of those accounts that will just send you tons of affiliate links. So, for you guys who have had the same experience and don’t know what to do with spammers – then here are some simple tips on how to identify them:

Give a few days before following those who just followed you – automated Twitter spammers have one feature in common and that is to follow random accounts and wait if they follow back. These accounts have a timer for the purpose of following and unfollowing you, thereby allowing them to send multiple spam emails to your inbox.

This is one way in distinguishing bots and real people.  With real people, those that follow you will continue to follow you – unless for reasons like uninteresting or boring contents.

With bots, however, they will continue to follow you, in the hope that you would follow them in return.  And when you follow them, they will then start sending spam emails, then unfollow you – and then repeat the same processes again.follow me

If you are encountering problems like this, you can always wait for a few days, before following recent followers, so you can check their account.  Now, if the account is purely for brand promotion, then you can opt to unfollow it and block the user – thereby prohibiting it from following you again.

Regularly check out you notification emails – most Twitter user don’t read the content of these notifications – and chances are, these messages are probably those coming from spammers and bots.  Hence, when you receive notifications, it would be best if checked them out to determine if they are actually real and not just spam.  If they are spam emails – then you can manually delete the notification and block the account.  Always make sure to block the account because most probably, it will attempt to follow and send you notifications again.

Watch for duplicate profile photos – this is another common style of spammers and bots.  They tend to use a single profile pictures for multiple Twitter accounts, making it quite obvious. In fact, there are even times when they would follow you with different accounts using the same profile pictures in the same day.  Also, beware of profiles with car pictures, girls in bikinis and symbols as primary picture.

If you ever notice such incident in your Twitter account, don’t be fooled.  Although I’m not saying there are no reasons for multiple accounts to follow your tweets in a day, but it will save you the annoyance if you just check on them first or block them, because chances are they are bot accounts – and they will keep on sending you spam emails, until you decide to block them.

Beware of profiles that contain too many quotes with links – this is another of a spammer’s methods.  In here, they will tweet quotes and attach links in the content, and if you mistakenly click that link, then you will be directed to a sales site.

Admittedly, distinguishing if a Twitter profile is powered by a bot or a human user can be quite difficult.  At first glance, you may think that your followers are legit – but if you look closely, and you notice that tweets contains the same links, or if they have different contents and quotes but with the same link, then there is a high probability that they are powered by bots and if they are attempting to follow you, it would be best to block them.

Also remember to keep an eye on profile names that are also brand names.  Although spamming may not be really their intention – but before following a certain profile, you must check first if the account exists merely for sending promotional mails or if it does indeed have a human user.  Remember that brand accounts with human users usually create personalized messages when asked a question – while bots, on the other hand, will only send marketing adds instead of actual answers.

Image by Flickr

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