Spam is a nuisance across any form of electronic communication, and Twitter has made it clear it takes the problem seriously: it has filed suit in a San Francisco federal court against five spammers and spamming-tool creators. The company sees the move both as a direct strike against those polluting its network, but also hopes that it will act "as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter." Twitter has also implemented new anti-spam techniques, designed to aggressively block those spamming with @replies. The company is additionally now using its own link-shortening service to determine whether any links posted on Twitter lead to malware, which has already helped the company identify "hundreds of thousands of abusive accounts."
While the move may seem extreme, there is precedent here. In 2009, Facebook won $711 million in damages against spammer Sanford Wallace; last year Wallace was indicted by a federal court for multiple counts of fraud in connection with the spamming. As far as Twitter's legal targets, VentureBeat reports that one of the entities, TweetAttacks, has already been taken off the web. A Twitter spokesperson also provided the publication with the following statement:
"The defendants were in clear violation of the Twitter Rules... Taking legal action sends a clear message to all would-be spammers that there are serious and costly consequences to violating our Rules with their annoying and potentially malicious activity. We've focused on tool providers; they have willfully created tools that enable others to propagate spam on Twitter."