If there’s one thing that could bring down the whole Twitter empire outside of a catastrophic meltdown of all of their servers, it’s spam. Hackers and malware agents have been limited over the years as more users are keeping their accounts secure and are hesitant to click unfamiliar links, so the annoying little luncheon meat is the last remaining major threat to the social network.
Yesterday, they took a big step towards minimizing spam with a victory in court over TweetAdder, a software company that specializes in Twitter marketing automation. Their purpose is the key to Twitter’s (and users’) gripe – “automation” makes it too easy to spam. There will always be manual spammers, but when software has the capability to message people in bulk, there’s a problem. Now, that part of the problem has moved closer to being solved.
As CNET puts it:
Under the terms of the settlement, the owners and employees of TweetAdder agree not to take part in “creating, developing, manufacturing, adapting, modifying, making available, trafficking in, using, disclosing, selling, licensing, distributing (with or without monetary charge), updating, providing costumer support for, or offering for use, sale, license, or distribution (with or without monetary charge), any software or technology designed for use in connection with Twitter’s service.”
If you didn’t get the gist of it, TweetAdder can basically do nothing associated with Twitter. It’s the equivalent of a software restraining order.
They aren’t the only company that Twitter is going after, but they were the largest. What does this mean to users? If you’re a light user, you may not even know the difference. Those who use Twitter heavily will see a decrease in follows and unfollows (a practice known as churning) as well as fewer direct communications begging you to try the latest teeth whitening gimmick. It’s not much, but it’s a step in the right direction.