Twitter has announced it filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco against companies who provide the tools Twitter spammers use. In a post on the Twitter blog, Twitter said it was filing the suit to prevent spammers from accessing their tools and, they hope, to deter other spammers from making similar software. From the blog post:
This morning, we filed suit in federal court in San Francisco against five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers. With this suit, we’re going straight to the source. By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.
Twitter has only said it filed suit against "five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers." According to The Telegraph, the defendants in the lawsuit are TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBuddy, James Lucero of justinlover.info, and Garland E. Harris of troption.com. These services bill themselves as "Twitter marketing software."
Twitter also used the blog post to reiterate that their engineering team is working on technical solutions to combat spam. They claim that anti-spam measures were implemented this week that allow them to "agressively suspend a new type of @ mention spam." Also, Twitter's link shortener analyzes links to make sure they don't lead to malware or other "malicious content."
In some ways this seems to be a good step for Twitter. Fighting back against spam requires fighting on all fronts, from tools for users to individually combat it to federal lawsuits. But if Twitter believes suing these companies will get rid of the types of software they make and promote, they are mistaken. While the lawsuit drags on more of the exact same services will spring up. In order to truly get rid of the weed that is spam, Agent Orange is required. And Twitter certainly isn't going to destroy its site with toxic goo just to cull spam.