The types of Twitter spam, or Twam as it's called, can range from simple advertisements from brands, too good to be true business opportunities, and plain old malware. Whether they are sent as a reply to a tweet, via direct message or just from a standard Twitter account, they all are highly annoying.
If there's one thing to remember on the Internet, if it seems too fabulous to be true, it likely is. Those porn spammers who want you to look at their photos are really not interested in you. Those miraculous weight loss or male enhancement claims, they will take your money but they won't deliver. Oh and if you want more followers, those claims to add thousands in minutes, they're spam too.
From your favorite celebrity on Twitter posting sponsored ads to malicious direct messages claiming that you're in this crazy video on Facebook before asking you to download malware or those pesky users who follow you with hopes you'll follow back and read their spam tweets, Twitter rarely has a shortage of spam.
The good news is that they also actively fight spammers. Between policy changes, follow limits and ease of reporting Twitter spam, Twitter works hard to reduce these annoyances and improve the Twitter experience. Now if someone could do the same for the most common types of email spam, the Internet would be such a more enjoyable place!
Direct Message Malware
Ever received a direct message from a friend or new follower that urges you to check out a secret video or photo of you along with a link? Congratulations, you've been direct message spammed! The links sadly don't point toward raunchy videos but rather a site, often Facebook, where you are urged to update your Flash player or download some type of update to watch the video. Spoiler: That so-called update is actually malware which can take over your hard drive and cause all kinds of nasty problems. Long story short, don't click these links. Delete the direct messages and politely remind the friend or follower to change their password.
So you send a tweet about something, say Boston apartments, and miraculously you receive an instant reply from a stranger offering exactly what you're looking for. You click the link to the affordable and lavish apartment in the heart of Bean Town only to be directed to a site that requires you to download a photo player to see this lovely new place. Don't get your hopes up just yet. That's nothing more than an elaborate ruse to get you to download malware.
Not all reply spam is this sophisticated however. Reply spam can simply offer a reply to any random tweet with a link. Careful when clicking links from people you don't know as more often than not, their intentions are far from pure.
Who wants more followers? Well, most people but there are good ways to get followers and bad. Any tool that claims to grow your followers exponentially is probably too good to be true. Sure they'll get you followers, but do you really want 10,000 random people from who knows where reading about your bathroom habits or whatever else you tweet about? If you want more followers, find those who share your interests. Make worthwhile social media relationships, not easy ones.
For those who read their Twitter streams on Twitter.com, you're probably familiar with those trending topics listed in the sidebar. Hijacking one of those topics is also a very popular way to get your spam tweet read by a ton of people with little effort. See people monitor those trending topics to see what the buzz is about and are sure to see your spammy tweet as a result. Use common sense when clicking these links, folks.