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Twitter Spam

Researchers Buy Twitter Bots To Fight Twitter Spam 45

Posted by samzenpus
from the fight-fire-with-fire dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "The success of social networking community Twitter has given rise to an entire shadow economy that peddles dummy Twitter accounts by the thousands, primarily to spammers, scammers and malware purveyors. But new research on identifying bogus accounts has helped Twitter to drastically deplete the stockpile of existing accounts for sale, and holds the promise of driving up costs for both vendors of these shady services and their customers. writes about a paper (PDF) being released today at the USENIX conference that details how researchers spent almost a year and $5,000 buying up accounts from 27 twitter account merchants, and then built templates to help Twitter detect accounts sold by these merchants — all with the aim of getting more of these bot accounts shut down before they can be used to spam legitimate Twitter users. The story goes into great detail on the lengths to which these account merchants will go to evade Twitter's anti-bot security measures."
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Researchers Buy Twitter Bots To Fight Twitter Spam

Comments Filter:
  • Does hotmail have no security at all to detect bot created accounts? 60+% of all them. That's ridiculous.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:46PM (#44570107) Homepage

    Of course Twitter is a spam magnet. Twitter won't let people write Twitter clients with spam filters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @09:03PM (#44570213)

    Now you're just making stuff up.

    • No no it's real. There are twitter users who are actual persons.
      For example :"Hey look at this product, it's awesome and with an affordable price tag. I am using it without problem for months!" is clearly a cheap twitbot, while "OMG LOST MATCH AGAIN DAAAAAMN!!!!1!" is clearly the product of a human brain.

    • SMH @thunderclap I have 40000 posts and 686 actual people who listen.

  • They gave $5000 to Twitter account merchants. It doesn't seem to me that was the smartest thing to do with the money if you actually want to discourage this kind of activity.
    • by manu0601 (2221348)

      They gave $5000 to Twitter account merchants. It doesn't seem to me that was the smartest thing to do with the money if you actually want to discourage this kind of activity.

      I had the same idea, but now I wonder how much they managed to raise autogenerated twitter account price. 5000 USD could be seen as an investment

    • by N1AK (864906)

      They gave $5000 to Twitter account merchants. It doesn't seem to me that was the smartest thing to do with the money if you actually want to discourage this kind of activity.

      If by spending $5,000 you manage to get information that leads to $100,000 worth of accounts being disabled before they can be used and increases the cost of creating new accounts then it seems to me like it's a very good way to discourage that activity.

  • by JazzXP (770338) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @09:30PM (#44570349) Homepage
    Twitter should be blocking any post that is only a link sent to someone they've never interacted with before. That would remove 90% of the spam I receive there.
  • Twitter could shut down tomorrow and I could give zero fucks about the loss.

  • Nearly every spam I get these days uses the link shortener to disguise the destination of the links. I report every one through Spamcop, which reports them to, but it never seems to make a difference.

  • Why would anyone pay money to buy an account that lets you tell people what color your belly-button lint is today?

    In order to get anyone to read a feed off, you have to get them to subscribe to it -- if you go to all you get is a sign-up form, you can't even browse or search to see what the site is about. You certainly can't find some randomly created account -- this scam seems pointless.

    Of what possible use is one of these auto-generated accounts? The article does not explain.


    • Record companies use the number of followers a band has when they are considering signing them up.

      Just one example, there are lots more.
      • by jabberw0k (62554)
        That sounds like an error at the record company, not at Twitter.
        • by fatgraham (307614)

          I'd imagine the record company could want to hijack 's twitter account to peddle other bands to their followers to generate sales & hype... Doesn't seem too unreasonable? To record companies, bands are just an tool to make them money right?
          Their twitter account could then become just another advertising stream until the next fad comes along

  • Let's put aside for a moment that Twitter is one of the very stupidest things to come along in quite some time: a service for illiterate chimpanzees with attention-deficit disorder, as nobody of worth or value would bother reading or writing 140 characters at a time. Let's just pretend, for the sake of argument, that it's a useful service worth defending.

    First, putting money into the pockets of its adversaries is idiotic.

    Second, pretending that content/context filtering based on examination of their
  • Antes de compartir mis 5 mejores consejos del edificio del músculo con usted, quiero contarles un poco sobre mí. La razón por la que hago esto es para que sepa que usted está escuchando a alguien que realmente tiene experiencia en la construcción de músculo. Dicho esto, permítanme compartir con ustedes mi historia, y luego voy a compartir mi top 5 mejores consejos del edificio del músculo con usted. Cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria, yo era muy flaco. Yo fui u

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.