Mike Isaac

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Twitter Wins Round One in Spammer Lawsuit Battle

spam_canNo question about it: Twitter spam is a total pain. But the company seems to be getting closer to handling its junk-tweet problem — one spammer at a time.

According to a document filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday, the microblogging service settled ongoing litigation with TweetAdder, one of five defendants named in a series of lawsuits filed by Twitter in 2012. As a result of the settlement, TweetAdder and its employees agree to knock off a whole bunch of practices that aren’t kosher with Twitter’s terms of service.

In other words, no more spammy behavior from a company that was (allegedly) a veritable arms dealer of Twitter spam weapons to the masses. Past versions of TweetAdder’s products made it super simple for those who wanted to flood the service with spammy tweets to do so. No more, says the agreement, or TweetAdder will face the very expensive music — and repercussions thereof.

“Twitter is committed to aggressively protecting its users from spam, and we use all tools at our disposal to shut down spammers, including through the legal action filed last year,” a Twitter spokesperson told AllThingsD in a statement.

“We are pleased with today’s settlement; we’ve succeeded in getting the TweetAdder defendants to respect our Terms of Service — now and in the future. The stipulated order filed today protects our users and should serve as an example to other parties that try to use the Twitter platform for spam,” Twitter said.

In one sense, it’s a teensy victory. After all, Twitter hasn’t settled with all of the five companies named in the series of original suits.

And Twitter has hardly been the only Web company to combat spammers. Indeed, Facebook has fought “clickjackers,” battled “typosquatters” and engaged in litigation with all sorts of other funnily named opportunistic Web ne’er-do-wells. Craigslist, too, sued a number of spammers in 2009, winning in at least one case an injunction and a $200,000 verdict in favor of the online posting service.

But progress is progress, and it’s one less set of spam-tool providers that are able to push out wares to customers and clog up Twitter’s network. Perhaps other companies Twitter is still fighting will follow suit and change their products to adhere to Twitter’s terms of service.

Or perhaps not. We’ll be watching the court filings to find out. Take a look at the full settlement document below.

Update, 4:17 pm PT: TweetAdder is the second company to settle, as Tweet Buddy founder Justin Clark notified me. His company settled out of court with Twitter last year, and as a result, Tweet Buddy is kaput.

Twitter vs TweetAdder Settlement


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