Twitter Inc. said it's going to court to block five of the most aggressive "spam tool makers" that create software making it easy to spam its community of 140 million active users that generate 340 million tweets per day. The company has filed a Federal lawsuit in San Francisco against five "spam-enablers" including corporations and individuals based both in and outside the U.S.

In a company blog detailing the lawsuit, Twitter said: 

With this suit, we’re going straight to the source. By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.

Targets of the legal action taken by Twitter last week include TweetAttacks (JL4 Web Solutions), TweetAdder (Skootle Corp.), TweetBuddy and two individuals named in the case, Garland Harris and James Lucero, who allegedly operate web sites that provide tools for spamming Twitter clients.

Twitter Spam Peaked in 2009

Back in March 2010, in a Twitter blog on spam reduction, the company said spam reached a peak of up to 11% of total tweets in August 2009 but it has since been working aggressively to bring that number to below 2% (see chart.) 

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The anti-spam efforts cost the company up to US$ 700,000 and Twitter will seek court-mandated injunctions to stop this activity plus damages. 

Efforts Will Continue

Twitter also said on the blog that it is also working on other engineering solutions to block the spam activity. "For example, earlier this week, our engineers launched new anti-spam measures within Twitter to more aggressively suspend a new type of @ mention spam," the blog reported. It also developed a link shortener (t.co) that analyzes the destination of tweet links (set to avoid malicious links) and target abusive accounts. 

Back in January 2012, Twitter acquired Dasient web security company with technology that is also helping in this overall anti-spam effort.