Twitter Spam and What You Can Do

It seems as though I’ve been getting more spam direct messages (DMS) via Twitter lately, and also more spam mentions. I actually try to stay on top of the DMs that I get, so these are more than a minor annoyance.

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With the most common kind of spam DMs, a user is sent a message that includes a provocative text message and a link. After clicking on the link (DO NOT DO THIS) one of two things will happen:

  1. the message/link will be automatically sent to your followers
  2. you will be prompted to enter your Twitter user name and password to access the linked content

In the first case, you aren’t going to make any friends among your followers. In the second case, the hijacker can then use your account to send any kind of spam that he wants. He could also send inappropriate messages to your followers, which may be friends, family or customers.

If you were informed that your account is sending spam, or suspect it, the issue may be fixable by simply changing your password. You can block the user that sent you the spam, or report the spammer to Twitter by going to their profile.

Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 12.15.49 PMA last step you can take is to review the apps that are authorized to connect to your Twitter account. Go to setting > apps and check the permissions for the apps listed. The ones enabled “read, write and direct messages” can do the most damage. Make sure those are legit.

Incidentally, I tried today, which is designed to identify which of your followers may be a nuisance account, spammer or malicious bot. It only identified two potential spammers among our followers, but the good news is that it’s fast, easy and free.


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