Twitter has shut down Fame, the raffle that sought to bestow untold legions of new followers onto one lucky winner a day. It aimed to acquire over 21 million followers, meaning that every day one person would overtake Lady Gaga (currently Twitter's most followed person), but at the time of writing had managed around 7,000 after 19 days of operation. In any case, Fame has been informed that it violates Twitter's Terms of Service, and will be shutting down today.
Our 15 min are up. Well, 19 days to be exact. Twitter has informed us that we are violating the spirit of their TOS.— FAME (@fame) April 12, 2012
Twitter, for its part, declined to make a statement. We asked Fame for clarification on what part of Twitter's ToS it was violating, and the service believes that it was acting in accordance with the rules:
"This is one of the great tensions of the web era we are living in and increasingly so as the open web grows.
We actually don't violate any particular rule, it was simply an arbitrary decision that we aren't aligned with the spirit of what they want."
While what Fame was doing indeed doesn't seem to violate any specific part of the user ToS, reading the connected Twitter Rules makes it pretty clear why the microblogging service would have a problem with it. The rules include several provisions against mass following, and while these seem mostly aimed at warding off spammers, the site also has rules that prohibit following and unfollowing through automation.
Twitter's side of the argument is understandable, but the "spirit" of its ToS seems more anti-spam than anti-quirky social experiment to us. The users participating in Fame were doing so willingly, and the only "damage" being done to the service was the potential devaluation of what it means to have a certain number of followers. Still, if you want to make it big on the internet, you might find more success elsewhere — Fame co-founder Rus Yusupov told us that the next step is taking the service to other platforms "that will allow us the freedom to innovate."