Twitter is finally coming into its own and this Summer saw the little social networking app suddenly become the communications medium of choice for many. From Oprah to Ashton Kutcher to the Iranian elections, Twitter hit the main stream with a tidal wave of popularity. With that popularity comes the scammers hoping to use it to take advantage of the newly initiated tweeps on Twitter.
Made by Haskrocket, the Agile/Ruby on Rails developers behind sites like LocalPolitics.in and Matchless Music, created TweetBlocker.com to help users combat the growing tsunami of spammers and scammers on Twitter.
The app works by simply ranking spammers in your follow/followers lists and allows you to unfollow or block them one at a time or en masse.
The ranking or grading of users on a spam or no-spam scale is done by analyzing a combination of habits (tweets), ratio of followers to following, the age of the account, and basic spam algorithms to look at the Twitter stream of the account itself.
On the TweetBlocker dashboard, the suspected spammers in your list are shown with a ranking (score) and grade (A, B, C, D, or F). Hovering over any user’s name shows their last couple of tweets so you can refresh your memory as to who they might be. In my test, most of the users ranked with an F were likely spammers that I blocked. It was the Cs and Ds that were hit-and-miss and required individual scrutiny.
Be aware, though, that many who are given an F are probably getting that mainly because they are not very often using Twitter (have few tweets to followers in ratio) and whose tweets are largely made up of URL links.
For those who are interested in getting more involved in the spam war, a bookmarklet is available that can be used from Twitter.com to flag individual users as potential spammers. This works by simply flagging whomever’s profile page your browser is on and adding them to the TweetBlocker system. Each addition ads to the user’s ranking, pushing their grade towards F. This is a nice little tool, though I don’t think it should replace @spam (the Twitter spam account).
TweetBlocker is a nice tool and useful for the avid Twitter user whose account’s followers are getting cumbersome. If your stream is increasingly filled with marketing messages you’d rather not get and you’re using one of the “auto-follow back” tools to boost your followers list, then TweetBlocker may be a helpful solution.
It’s free to use and easy to get to know, so it’s worth trying.