Getting Twitter Spam? Here’s how I deal with it

This is the second part of a post series I star­ted a few days ago, deal­ing with Twit­ter spam.

What got me think­ing about it was the recent spate of incom­ing DM tweets from trus­ted people I fol­low. I received anoth­er one this morn­ing.

I’m com­ing at it from the per­spect­ive that it’s not delib­er­ate. Rather, these unwit­ting spammer’s have fallen vic­tim to diabol­ic­ally-craf­ted account phish­ing schemes and their Twit­ter accounts are now com­prom­ised and send­ing spam without the real account owner’s know­ledge. As such, I always give own­ers of spam­ming accounts the bene­fit of the doubt, once. Only once.

Part Two — How to deal with Twit­ter spam

If it’s a nor­mally trus­ted user send­ing spam DMs
A spam DM (Dir­ect Mes­sage) can only come from someone you fol­low. You can only reply via DM if you, in turn, fol­low that account. This is why it’s such a dis­ap­point­ment when you receive spam from a trus­ted source…but remem­ber, at this point we believe the account has been com­prom­ised.

The pro­cess I use is rather simple yet it gives the account own­er a chance to:

  • recov­er con­trol of the account,
  • let their fol­low­ers know what’s hap­pen­ing,
  • con­tin­ue to be a respons­ible mem­ber of the Twit­ter com­munity.

Alert the spam­ming account
First con­tact the spam­ming account. I do this through DM to allow them to safe face, and deal with the issue in their own way and time­frame.

  • Let them know the account has been com­prom­ised
  • Ask them to change their pass­word, so the spam­mer can’t get back in
  • Ask them to review out­go­ing DMs to see who was spammed, to alert their com­munity and veri­fy that they indeed did send the spam
  • Ask them to check their ‘approved app rela­tion­ships’ that they’ve giv­en account access to. This is usu­ally per­son­al­ity quiz or ‘What Hero Are You’ type apps. If some­thing is sus­pect, revoke the apps access.

Here’s what I usu­ally send, via DM:

I think your account has been compromised - just sent me 'quiz' spam. Check your Sent DM, change PW, & review Settings/Connections

Non DM ‘Men­tion’ spam
If you notice a tweet or RT (ReTweet) that has your twit­ter name men­tioned, but a spammy shortened link in the body (not one you’d used) run, do not walk to your DM pan­el.

Your tweet was har­ves­ted and hijacked by spam­mers. The con­tent was altered to include the spam short­link, mak­ing it look like you sent the ori­gin­al tweet.

Send a DM to @spam with the account name. Twit­ter folk will deal with the account. And let your fol­low­ers know that a pre­vi­ous tweet was hijacked. You will, of course, need to fol­low @spam (which is kinda weird) but it works 🙂

So, as far as Twit­ter spam goes, that’s how I roll. How ’bout you? Do you have any cool or crafty tech­niques you use to deal with spam?

There’re two parts to this sub­ject, which logic­ally means that I’ll deal with it in two posts:

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