Twitter Inc (TWTR)’s BotMaker Proving a Formidable Spam Fighter


Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s Engineering Blog released a new post yesterday detailing their new menace to spam tweets, BotMaker. The spam fighter (not to be confused with the Nippon Ham Fighters) monitors billions of tweets daily, many of them in real-time as they’re being written, as its use thus far has resulted in a 40% reduction in one of the metrics Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) uses to track spam.

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Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s real-time spam detection is called “scarecrow”, and runs in low latency so as not to interfere with the speed with which tweets appear in users’ feeds, a far more important consideration than it is for spam email programs. That latency is accomplished while still being able to deny tweets deemed to be spam as they’re about to be sent, or alternatively, to demand that suspicious tweets require a captcha before they’re allowed to be sent off into the Twitter-sphere.

When “scarecrow” fails, there is “sniper” to back it up, which monitors tweets and users in a more comprehensive fashion that “scarecrow” can not do in low latency. In addition to those two models, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) also performs periodic jobs that can analyze large swaths of data and make determinations about user behavior over extended periods.

Perhaps most importantly, BotMaker can be updated with new rules instantaneously to allow it to keep pace with the ever-evolving tactics of the spammers. As the blog post states: “Spammers respond to the system defenses and the cycle never stops.” Twitter believes they now have a system in place that can quickly and effectively react to those new tactics and shut them down.

Such a system is extremely important for Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). While it’s easy enough for users to block or remove spammers from those they follow, the bigger concern is how their tweets would show up in search results under specific hashtags. If users are forced to wade through spam when trying to search out tweets on a topic of interest, it could greatly lower engagement with the site.

Billionaire investor George Soros is one of the shareholders of Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) owning 150,000 shares in the company worth more than $6.7 million.

Disclosure: none

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