Why Do We Report Twitter Spam?

Dr. Drang:

The spam reporting button I put into Dr. Twoot last month[1] was a demonstration that the process could be made much simpler and could be done directly from the timeline—no need to jump to the spammer’s profile. In fact, I now take great pleasure in reporting spammers. A quick click on the ∅ button reports the spammer, blocks him from appearing in my timeline again, and strikes through his tweet.

Ryan Irelan has even done research on what clients making marking tweets as spam easy.

All this has led me to think about why we take time and go out of our way to report Twitter spammers.

Do we do it as a favor to Twitter itself? The company clearly is playing cat-and-mouse with these accounts, as the ebb and flow of tweet spam changes over time.

Or do we just want to keep our neighborhoods nice? I know I hate seeing spam when I’m flicking through my replies, and will report it just to get it out of my face.

Maybe we just like being in charge of something.

Whatever the reason we report spam, I think everyone sees it as a problem.

Of course, not everyone reports spam. Here’s Marco Arment:

Twitter needs a far more aggressive, automated, proactive, heuristic-based anti-spam system. And if someone has trouble legitimately tweeting a link with no text to 100 people in a row who don’t follow them at precise 1-minute intervals, that’s just the price we’ll have to pay.

In the meantime, I’m never using the “Report Spam” feature again, because it just seems like I’m wasting my time.

Will Twitter apps start building in spam filtering, like Mail.app does? That’d sure be something.

  1. Read about it here.  ↩