Twitter: Dealing with Spammers and Scammers
If you’ve ventured onto Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that there’s an awful lot of stuff on there that you don’t want to see. What’s the best way to avoid the dross?
Spam takes many forms on Twitter. ‘Book spammers’ are something that writers will come across almost immediately. This is basically where a Twitter account belongs to an author, who tirelessly promotes their own book in aggressive fashion. Their feed will mostly consist of BUY MY BOOK!
This kind of spam isn’t harmful, it’s just overpowering, and not the best way to get people to buy your book. And there are way too many people doing it.
If someone guilty of book spamming follows you, they’re probably not going to bug you personally, but it will clutter your feed. My personal preference here is just to not follow back.
When you check out a new follower, have a look at how many followers the account has. If they have way more followers than people they follow, they are probably just interested in pushing constant advertising out. Especially if their number of tweets is high. Some accounts are automated to follow you, then unfollow once you follow back. And they may also buy followers.
Again, not personally harmful, but not useful either. You won’t get personal interaction from these kind of accounts.
You may get spam accounts following you. If you see a follower whose tweets are garbled, full of unrelated hashtags, or constant retweets on click-bait type subjects, or a mixture of foreign languages – it’s a spam account. Ignore it or block it.
There are two types of accounts I block automatically – porn accounts, and accounts selling followers. You will get both of these. Just block them.
Don’t get stressed out about spammers following you – it happens to everyone! Block and move on.
If you get a nice sounding offer in your direct messages, and you think ‘this sounds too good to be true’, that’s because it probably is.
Most of us know these days to ignore solicitations for money or personal details through phishing emails and so on. This applies to Twitter as well.
If you receive scam messages – block the account and report the details.
Writing and publishing scams can be more difficult to identify. Many small press publishers, agents and writing websites are on Twitter. Some of them contact people with ‘writer’ or ‘author’ in their username with offers or deals. Some are scammy, some are genuine, and some are not scams but just not really worth what’s being offered.
Do not part with your writing, the rights to your writing, or any money, before you have thoroughly investigated the particular deal on offer. Discuss it with other writing friends, research it on the internet, and check out forums to see what experience other people have had.
Operate on the side of caution, and remember the key phrase – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s worth repeating.
Twitter encourages you to report all abuse and spam. Check out how to do this here.