bertboerland At some level, you’d think that Twitter should have an easier job than most at thwarting spam.

While you can get an e-mail address almost anywhere and use that to dispatch junk correspondence through carefully cloaked servers, you can’t get a Twitter account without going through Twitter’s servers and being counted in the exhaustive analytics the company runs to track what happens on its service. Yet Twitter’s more than 200 million active users continue to see obvious fake users in their timelines, all proffering the same dumb come-ons—Weight loss! Make money from home!—as the cretins who have been polluting our inboxes for the last few decades.

A study presented at last week’s Usenix Security Symposium in Washington—”Trafficking Fraudulent Accounts: The Role of the Underground Market in Twitter Spam and Abuse”—uncovered some contributing factors to the problem and found potential signs of hope. 5     

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