Yesterday we looked at Tweetblocker, to help prevent spam on Twitter. There is another alternative since ss Twitter becomes more popular, it also becomes a new haven for spammers, phishers, marketing robots, and so forth. One thing about the Internet doesn’t seem to change: the more popular a communications medium on it becomes, the faster it will be inundated with scammers hoping to use it to find new victims.
TwitBlock.org is a bulk filtering and blocking tool for Twitter users. Despite that description, it’s not “just another spam blocker.” It has a little more going for it.
First and foremost, it’s entirely voluntary and controllable by the user. While this means it isn’t as easy as the “automated blockers” out there, it does mean that it’s less likely to filter out those you really want to follow. Some accounts, obviously, will get black listed just because they fit “the profile” (whatever that is) of a spammer. That’s not always the case.
The point of TwitBlock is to go through your followers (and following) lists and rank users by the likelihood of their being spammers or bots. The criteria for placing them in the position they fall into are clearly given and they are not automatically unfollowed or blocked without your choosing to do so.
Most users of TwitBlock, in fact, will likely go through the rankings manually and block/unfollow those they aren’t sure about. Since links to the profiles for each user on the list are given, it’s easy to check them out and decide for yourself. When I filtered my list, I found a few “spammers” on the list who weren’t really that, just people who send a lot of links to sales pages for stuff they like–I have one person I follow who’s an Amazon freak, for instance, and sends 2-3 book or music recommendations daily.
What I did find is that a handful of my followers were definitely robots of some kind. Since I wasn’t following them back and hadn’t ever noticed them before (no messages from them to me were sent), I can simply ignore them without worries. I don’t use any of those “automat follow back” tools that are so popular (and in my opinion, stupid) now, so I don’t have a lot of junk messages in my Twitter stream.
The “About TwitBlock” page explains how the ranking system and other aspects of TwitBlock work very well and makes it clear that the tool is not an auto-filter, but more an information gatherer to quantify what makes a spammer or bot and what makes a real user.
It’s extremely useful and a simply-done, nicely worked web app. If you’re fairly serious about your Twitter use, but don’t want to automatically dump users that some app’s AI thinks are “spammers” based on whatever mysterious criteria they use, then this is your solution. TwitBlock will ask permission to track your account for data gathering purposes (nothing personal, just to improve its filters), but this is voluntary and you don’t have to give permission for that.
Definitely worth a shot and TwitBlock is free to use in its Alpha stage.