How spam will likely enter the Twitter community
Monday, December 17, 2007 by Dave Winer.
I think I know how spammers are going to enter the Twitter world. It'll come in the form of replies, which basically function like email. You can direct a message with a url to anyone as long as you know their username.
Here's a screen shot that illustrates spam being sent to a hypothetical user. I didn't send it of course.
Another problem, the destination of the url is likely masked through the use of a shortener so the user could be clicking through to some really nasty place, with no way of knowing in advance that's where they're going. (Such messages probably wouldn't alert you in advance that they're about meds or poker or sex.)
The press and bloggers will run stories saying "Spam Comes to Twitter" and they'll be right, even though it won't be the main part of Twitter. Users will expect the company to do something about it, but I don't see what they can do other than eliminate the feature. Users will certainly want the ability to completely opt-out of replies.
PS: I received direct messages saying that the JetBlue account is spam (screen shot), but it is not spam, it's commercial information. Big diff. I would have to opt-in to see these messages in my stream. And if I got tired of it, I could opt-out. Spam is stuff that intrudes that you can't easily turn off.