Since the microblogging service exploded in popularity just a few short years ago, Twitter’s most egregious problem has been spam. Type ‘iPad’ in a tweet, and expect a deluge of twitterbots @replying you with fake offers of $99 discount tablets.
Twitter took a new step in its fight against spammers on Thursday, filing a lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court against companies that create tools to automate posting to and following people on Twitter.
The suit names five defendants: TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBuddy, James Lucero and Garland Harris — which Twitter claims are the biggest offenders in the Twitter spamming racket — arguing they are the arms dealers to those who fill the service with fake profiles and unwanted @ messages.
“By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal,” Twitter said in a company blog post. “With this suit, we’re going straight to the source.”
Twitter’s hardly the first tech company to go after spammers — a number of other major Internet companies have filed federal lawsuits in the fight against spammers. Recently, Facebook filed two lawsuits against Adscend Media, a firm that Facebook alleges is intent on spreading Facebook spam through deceptive practices, or “clickjacking.” Google has sued in similar situations involving online pharmacy scams and other online scammers.