Frequently asked questions

What is Twitter spam?

The definition of 'spam' on Twitter is quite subjective. Spam is a term invented for email to describe unsolicited, bulk communication. Some accounts on Twitter fall into this description, but 'junk' is perhaps a better word for the wide range of negative behaviour that TwitBlock tries to identify.

See Twitter's guidelines on spam

Why should I care if a spammer is following me?

We get asked this a lot. Quite simply, if you're not bothered by spam on Twitter then you don't need this app. However, the overwhelming response we've received over the past four years suggests that most people are bothered, and don't want spam accounts operating in their social networks. We believe they are right to feel this way. It may be obvious to you that bikini clad models don't really want to be friends, but in fact want to sell you counterfeit watches. Sadly not everyone is so alert, so let's ensure that Twitter is a better, safer place for everyone.

Does TwitBlock cost anything?

No. TwitBlock is a completely free service, but it does cost us money to run so if you find it useful, please consider donating to our running costs.

How does TwitBlock work?

For each user you scan, we look for various characteristics associated with junk Twitter accounts, scoring each from 0 to 4 points. These points are added up and the overall likelihood an account is spam is expressed as a percentage of our confidence an account is junk.

What do you check for?

The most significant indicators we observe are aggressive following tactics, how much an account is ignored, whether the account has been blocked by other TwitBlock users, and whether many other accounts have the same profile picture.

We don't scan the contents of tweets. As much as we'd like to, it would make the scan too slow and we'd run into Twitter API rate limits.

Do you maintain a blacklist?

As of 17 Nov 2010, a blacklist is maintained by TwitBlock administrators. We don't blacklist accounts merely for being annoying, or noisy. We only blacklist accounts we are certain are malicious or fraudulent. See the announcement

Can TwitBlock actually reduce spam?

When you report spam through TwitBlock we report it to Twitter via their API. Although we don't know the internal protocols at Twitter, we know that these reports help Twitter suspend accounts more quickly. Some spam accounts are very difficult to spot - for example, posing as real people and gaining followers for weeks before spamming them. TwitBlock enables us collectively to spot and report these accounts early

Why are innocent users showing up as junk?

All TwitBlock does is highlight accounts that display characteristics associated with junk accounts. Sometimes innocent people display these characteristics, whether deliberately or not. Please think for yourself before you report a user as spam.

Someone is blocking me. Can I find out who?

No. See our privacy policy.

You're saying I'm a spammer. I'm not a spammer!

Ok, that's not a question, but we've received angry emails from people saying we're damaging their reputation.

If your account has a particularly high score, perhaps you should evaluate some of your practices. For example: aggressive, automated following to get more followers is viewed by the Twitter community as a dirty tactic and is highly indicative of spam bots.

If you think you have been blacklisted unfairly, please contact us via Twitter