Are Spammers Impeding Twitter Growth?

Recent Trending Topics Include #gorillapenis and #farts

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[ Social Media]

Over the weekend, Twitter found itself victim to the tomfoolery of 4chan as the online community’s members apparently launched an initiative to make "#gorillapenis" a trending topic. They were successful, but Twitter of course responded by removing it from the trending topics.

What is 4chan?

4chan describes itself as "a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images." It is known however, for its online hijinks like the infamous YouTube Porn Day, when the site’s users got together to put a punch of porn videos on YouTube, claiming it  Wikipedia credits 4chan with the popularization of Internet memes like lolcats, Rickrolling, and "Chocolate Rain".


Twitter Spam in the Spotlight

While the #gorillapenis prank may not seem like a big deal, I have to disagree. It has forced me to write the words "gorilla penis" in a WebProNews article. Seriously though, it does show how easily Twitter can be abused.

Even now, "#farts" is a trending topic. This will likely be removed as well, but this kind of nonsense will likely just continue until something is done about it.

Farts a trending topic

Fake Accounts and Twitter’s Numbers

Those responsible for the prank had to create fake Twitter accounts. It makes you wonder how the creation of fake accounts can skew the numbers that show Twitter’s growth. Last week, we looked at new registrations in June, and the numbers looked to be up there with the month Oprah joined, but how many of these were fake? How many have been fake all along?

Twitter User Registrations

Those (at least some) who have been using Twitter know that there is plenty of usefulness to the service, but when newcomers sign up and see what all the hype is about and see a list of trending topics with things like #farts, #gorillapenis, #crotch, or whatever else, they may dismiss Twitter as an immature waste of time, and decide to just forget about it. This will not help that user retention problem.

Are Spammers Impeding Twitter Growth?
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  • http://www.gerlaine.com Gerlaine

    There will always be spammers. Without spammers there would be no yang for the yin in twitter. How is there peace without war or chaos? Spammers don’t really bother me. They just are Like mosquitoes on a hot humid summer night.

    • http://blog.hichamaged.net/ Hicham

      This is interesting point of view, Gerlaine :)

  • Guest

    A large number of the people abusing Twitter in this manner are more than likely looking for teh epic lulz, others are attempting to explore chinks in the armour.

    There’s software out there that, with a little tweaking, can easily be used to create thousands of Twitter accounts in the space of 24 hours.

    Do it from a network that’s known to have a large user base that’s unlikely ot see itself banned for creating a volume of accounts in a short period of time, such as a college campus, and you’ve basically got a bot army that will happily post shit for you, independent of armies of trolls.

    As it is, it’s not hard to automate multiple accounts to cleverly post seemingly real content in an attempt to get people to follow through with online detail captures for marketing purposes.

  • http://www.fromzerotoseo.com seozero

    Open any ‘star’ account, John Chow for example. Go through his followers and try to count all accounts with a default and nude pic. Count also identical pics. Pay attention to spammy tweets, like ‘how to increase a number of followers… bla bla bla’. Count these accounts too. Now you got fakes.

    You may argue against accuracy of this method. But, take another ‘star’ account and do the same calculation. Apply any statistical method you want. Calculate mean, median, stdev, etc, etc. Challenging? Yes. Value? Miserable.

    Twitter is very spam oriented service, that’s the problem. In addition, API allows users to set up bots quickly. Why not to take an advantage of it?

  • http://www.pioutsource.com PI Outsource

    I can relate to #gorillapenis and #farts. Why do you want to exclude me!

  • http://blog.hichamaged.net/ Hicham

    I noticed this trend couple of months ago. it’s very silly how you find your followeres increasing and when you check who follows you, you discover someone linking/talking about all that stupid stuff to find on twitter!

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