Why You Should Block Spammers on Twitter

Keep Twitter clean - Block spammersSpammers on Twitter. I hate them. So do you.If you are one, I’d like to kick you in the jimmy.

I’ve had several people ask me as of late why I bother to take the time to block spammers who follow me on Twitter. You asked, I’m answering.

Spammers are out to serve only themselves. Last I checked, it’s called “social media” not “me media.” Spammers are anything but “social” in nature and often push services of a dubious nature. They appear in my Twitter stream uninvited with their non-topical, keyword search-generated auto Tweets and they piss me off to no end.

It’s akin to being in a meeting that’s 1.5 hours deep and the kid from the mailroom outside overhears someone in the conference room say the word “suitcase” through the glass wall. Suddenly, Mail Boy barges into the conference room and exclaims:

“Hey! If you’re looking for awesome suitcases, my uncle runs a store in Illinois! Has for 30 years! Just tell him Billy sent ya and he’ll give you one heckuva deal.”

…and then exits, grabs his mail cart and strolls along down the hallway. Meanwhile, everyone in the conference room is wondering what the hell just happened. THAT’S SOCIAL MEDIA SPAM.

If you’re on Twitter and you’re doing it right, you’ve taken (or ARE taking) the time to build-up a meaningful following and being selective about whom you choose to follow. (If you’re not, fine – go ahead and live in your room with 15,000 TVs all tuned to different stations roaring at full-blast.) Spammers are the telemarketers of the social media: when you shut one down, another gets your number and invariably calls your cell phone during dinner.

Twitter spammers prevent:

  • Accurate user statistics on a macro level
  • Accurate follower/following statistics on a micro (user-by-user) level
  • The Twitter support team from spending time protecting and improving their technology and making it monetizable (the biggest challenge they’ve had with their business model to-date)

If you’re NOT actively blocking spammers from your Twitter account, you’re doing the entire Twitter community a huge disservice. Are you so damn insecure that you need the 114 fake women asking you to “look at thr sxxy webcam pix XXX” comprising your follower numbers? Hey, if you just like porn – awesome – but follow the REAL porn stars and not the spam accounts, would ya?

But Erika – how do I know if someone is a spammer?

  • Look at their Twitter stream. If it’s all broadcast about the same thing and no @’s – yeah, probably spam.
  • Women’s names with letters and numbers following – while not always the case, these little porn bots crop up in droves and usually are inviting you to view their sexy pictures. And guys – just like at the strip club – they don’t love you. They’re spambots.
  • Any dink who’s tweeting about getting a gazillion followers in 3 days. Spam, spam, spam. If you USE one of these services, you’re an asshole. You’re killing Twitter and the meaningful connections that can be made and are obviously not willing to put in the time to build a relevant network. (Yeah, I said that. Sue me.)

So, Erika – what do we DO when we find spammers following us?

YOU BLOCK THEM! And here’s how to do it and what happens when you do:

Click on your Followers and go to Expanded View (not List View). This will show you your followers’ most recent tweet (useful for determining if a user is a spammer in many cases).

Expanded View

Copy the username and send a message to @spam like this with the spammer’s username you’re going to block.

at spam

Select BLOCK from the drop-down menu in your Followers panel.

Actions Edit

Confirm the block.

confirm

When you block spammers AND send their username to @spam, the Twitter administrators keep track of users who are consistently blocked. Excessive blocks will flag their account for removal either immediately or in a mass purge. They perform these purges on a regular basis, which prompts people who don’t pay attention to their followers to cry, “OMG! I lost 64 followers! WTF!?” the next day. Read more about Twitter’s spam policy and —guess what???— what I’ve told you to do to spam accounts above is EXACTLY what Twitter tells you to do with them! I’m just the messenger.

So there you go: why you should block spammers on Twitter and the PROPER procedure for doing it. Help keep Twitter’s userbase clean so the admins can actually work on keeping the Fail Whale out of view instead of cleaning up the the mess from people who leave their turds in Twitter’s yard.

*** LARGE PRINT DISCLAIMER: “Blocking” accounts on Twitter is meant to be a protective action – if you don’t care for another Tweep’s content or style, you don’t have to FOLLOW them. Simply unfollow – don’t BLOCK them. Just remember that you’re the one who subscribed to their content in the first place – you’re the one who can unsubscribe as well.

Are you subscribed to this blog? Well, why NOT? Add it to your reader or get your updates via email NOW. Click on the RSS icon or enter your email address at the top right hand side of this page. Admit it – you get a lot of crap in your inbox. Why not get some crap you actually want to read?

18 comments
Rachel Allen
Rachel Allen

Hey guys, great article! What are your thoughts on tools like https://www.tweetfavy.com and similar sites? I've been using their service to get more followers on my Twitter account, great stuff!

Mecha  Ogilvie
Mecha Ogilvie

One guy followed me after I said I hate racism against Black women.  He made sure to post an insult to a Black female celebrity.  I also found it strange when all the other fake followers who were following him started following me.  I blocked all of them including him.  Not locking my account again just to keep spammers away. Sheesh!

Michael T
Michael T

Blocking's the easy part. What I have yet to figure out is spam triggered by a tweet of mine. In other words, frequently when I post a tweet to a national figure like @JoeNBC within an hour someone will tweet back with spam. The latest was @hammi101 What I cannot figure out is how did this spammer know I just tweeted? Anyone know the answer? Michael Senior Software Engineer San Diego, CA

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Step back a moment, Erika. At the top you write, "Spammers are anything but “social” in nature and often push services of a dubious nature. They appear in my Twitter stream uninvited with their non-topical, keyword search-generated auto Tweets and they piss me off to no end." Why would anyone's tweets piss you off -- why you even see them -- unless you follow them? It's one thing to block accounts from following you, but it's a different issue if you're doing the following.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Excellent - thanks for the clarification!

Doug Braun
Doug Braun

I hear ya. It can be set to fully automatic, or for manual confirmation of the spammy followers it finds -- up to you :)

The Redhead
The Redhead

Yeah, I'm just not a fan of "automatic" anything. I like to see who's who, which is why I like Twitter Karma by Dossy. Others might like it, however, so thanks for sharing!

Doug Braun
Doug Braun

Another answer to what to do about spammy followers, you might want to try twitsweeper.com which automatically finds them and then blocks them for you...

RIP
RIP

Subscribed to your twits this morning.... so glad I did. I find your articles informative and interesting too. Thanks for sharing your experience. (I'm @ripizzo on twitter where I enjoy a lot of political conversation and sharing and I'm @rebeccapizzo to share my photography.)

Chrissy Morin
Chrissy Morin

I've had people ask me the same thing.. just don't follow! But I agree that's not enough. I use tweetlater and it has a little feature when you vet your followers that you can ignore (i.e. don't follow) block or mark as spam which blocks AND reports them to @spam central. The other two clues for me are the "Teeth Whitening" and "Acai Berry Oprah Winfrey" tweets.. Those are SCAMS people... great post as always Erika!

Caleb
Caleb

Amen. I've recently started being more vigilant about this. I despise the auto generated key word based tweet, even more so... the direct message!

Wumpie
Wumpie

Erika, When I first followed you, I couldn't tell if you were a guy or girl (it was the goofy glasses avatar). I was new on twitter and somehow you popped up...it was the redhead in your name (me, too). I almost unfollowed because of your colorful language (which I later came to enjoy). I'm glad I stuck with you -- I've learned a lot and have been thoroughly entertained. Thanks for this post about spam. I've become very picky about whom I follow. You never have followed me back (guess I haven't earned it yet - or possibly an oversight). (My twitter name isn't wumpie.) I don't care if the people I enjoy reading don't follow me back (most have after I interact with them.) It is with great joy and a smile on my face, I block porn, spam and religious zealots. Quality over quantity!

Derek
Derek

Another indicator it's likely spam, especially when combined with any of the above evidence: account in question is following 100, 200 or more people with only a handful of followers

Trackbacks

  1. […] Twitter Spammers: Why You Should Block Them | RedheadWriting redheadwriting.com/why-you-should-block-spammers-on-twitter – view page – cached Spammer accounts are overrunning the Twitter stream – here's what you can do to keep them out of yours! Read more on Twitter and Social Media at RedheadWriting.com — From the page […]