BY EVAN THOMAS
Twitter is sending a direct message to spammers — in court.
In a post on its blog, Twitter announced it is suing five companies and individuals accused of creating and propagating spam across Twitter.
“Our engineers continue to combat spammers’ efforts to circumvent our safeguards, and today we’re adding another weapon to our arsenal: the law.”
One named defendant is TweetAdder. Its service will automatically follow other users, generate a stack of tweets with slight variation and automatically retweet other users — actions that are against Twitter’s terms of service.
SlashGear says this is comparatively new legal territory.
“There is no shortage of examples when it comes to e-mail service providers and even individual e-mail users suing spammers and winning, though in the growing social market, where the laws aren’t quite the same, there’s less case history.”
So, ZDNet says, Twitter might want to brace for a long fight.
“Last year, Yahoo won $610 million in a judgement against spammers. However, that case commenced in 2008 and was just completed in December, so that can give you an idea of just how long this might take for Twitter.”
Wired points out — regardless of a win — the mere act of suing will be a useful precedent to threaten future spammers with.
“It’s no guarantee that Twitter will win every lawsuit against spammers or sue every spammer, but it’s enough to make a spammer think twice about his future on Twitter — and possibly move to a less litigious or grown-up target.”
According to Twitter’s court filing, the company is looking for monetary and punitive damages — at least $700,000 worth.