Preventing Social Media Spam


Twitter Meta Moo! too far?
Image by Josh Russell via Flickr

Sometimes it feels really sorry to see the tactics of a select group of folks in the name of using Social media as a Conversation Medium ! By-and-large this is applicable to Twitter baring the first couple of points.

The Problem

  1. Email spam: They  continue to send you bulk promotional emails, although you never opted-in for their newsletter. On the name of customization, they start the email with your name prefix and believe they are not spamming your email box.  To your surprise, you are not allowed to copy & reproduce their email although they didn’t take your permission at the first place.
  2. Blog Spameeters: They start a one-dimensional blog to blatantly promote the poor client’s new product offerings.
  3. RTing & RTing: They create multiple accounts on twitter, send tweet from one id and then re-tweet from others. End-result = The user ends up thinking that there is a great conversation going on.
  4. Follow mania: They follow all the celebrities and all those who have more than 1000 followers in a hope to attract some eyeballs.
  5. Twomit dosage: While it is the lifeline of many, they continue to talk about the color of their underwear on twitter. Eating food, walking dog, brushing their teeth. It’s a moral obligation.They all know twitter has a threshold when it comes to maximum requests at an instance and maximum no. of tweets. However, they never refrain to curse twitter every time it suffers from an outage.

The Proposal

  1. Architectural change: Won’t it be interesting if twitter tweaks its structure to introduce a cap on the no. of tweets in a minute, an hour or in a day. At a technology level, it would protect against reaching the threshold & at a business-level it could be a possible revenue model for the users, where-in the pro-users could pay to cut the limit.
  2. Third-party app: If (1) doesn’t hold true, a third-party vendor could build an app. for this and sceptical organizations could roll-out this app to save productivity costs. It is a controlled approach towards embracing social media medium.
  3. Auto un-follow: A possible variant of (1), if a user witnesses too many tweets from select IDs in his timeline, he/she could have an option for automatic un-follow.
    1. Simply speaking, a user could set a time interval for e.g. ‘5’ minutes
    2. Within that which he could also set the max. tweet counter for select user-ids
    3. At any instant, if an id exceed this limit he/she is automatically un-followed from the user’s list.
    4. A user could also have post un-follow actions. For e.g. whether he she wants to permanently un-follow an id or whether he/she wants to automatically follow back an ID after specified time interval.

Off-course, if we’re to define a business case for this approach, the above model needs to be elaborated & thought about closely. But the real case-in-point is not the solution ! Instead we need to think deep-down and consciously ask ourselves (you & me) included, are we contributing to the spam/noise and making it hard to differentiate from the Signal?

What do you think? Is this something that could help in cutting down the spam? Are there viable alternate propositions that can be thought about?

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Filed under Social media, Social Media Conversation, Web 2.0

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