Follower Spam

How ‘Follower Spam’ Infiltrated Twitter - and How to Stop It - MediaShift

How It Started

There are two factors that helped give follower spammers a foothold on Twitter: 1) people get email notifications by default for each new follower; 2) some people like to reciprocate and follow everyone who follows them.

This email alert can be turned off but it’s turned on by default. So in a way, the spammers are using the ‘New Follower’ email as a trojan horse because it allows them to get into their email inbox without getting caught up in a spam filter.

you can “ding” someone who is spamming and see who else has been dinged multiple times before choosing to follow them.

Whitley said that spammers haven’t been the only ones who have annoyed him on Twitter. “I was followed by a white supremacist who had started to follow people just so that others would look at his tweets and view his hate speech,” Twitter didn’t want to disable his account and responded that he had a right to free speech.”

How to Stop It

  1. Block users.
  2. Report the spammer to Twitter.

I think a strong indication of Twitter follower spam is simply:

  1. Their following/follower ratio (or their ing/er ratio for short), and
  2. Their follow rate (i.e. how quickly they follow someone after that last time they followed someone.)