Twitter triumphs in spam lawsuit settlement

In its fight to deter spammers, the social network gets tool provider TweetAdder to agree to a strict settlement regarding Twitter's terms of service.

Twitter has won a battle in its war against spam.

The microblogging service settled a lawsuit on Tuesday with marketing software company TweetAdder, in which the agreement was clearly in favor of Twitter. The terms of the settlement were filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Under the terms of the settlement, the owners and employees of TweetAdder agree not to take part in "creating, developing, manufacturing, adapting, modifying, making available, trafficking in, using, disclosing, selling, licensing, distributing (with or without monetary charge), updating, providing costumer support for, or offering for use, sale, license, or distribution (with or without monetary charge), any software or technology designed for use in connection with Twitter's service, the use of which would violate Twitter's Terms of Service."

Basically, several versions of TweetAdder can no longer be used with Twitter. And, if they are, TweetAdder faces steep fines.

Twitter first filed the suit against TweetAdder and five other tool providers last April in San Francisco's federal court. Besides TweetAdder, Twitter went after TweetAttacks, TweetBuddy, Troption, and Justinlover. According to AllThingsD, TweetBuddy also settled with Twitter last year, but litigation with the other companies is still ongoing.

By working to shut down these tool providers, Twitter hopes to stop other spammers from using those tools. The tools function by providing downloadable software (usually for a fee) that lets users easily tweet posts and direct messages automatically.

"Twitter is committed to aggressively protecting its users from spam, and we use all tools at our disposal to shut down spammers, including through the legal action filed last year," a Twitter spokesperson told CNET. "We are pleased with today's settlement; we've succeeded in getting the TweetAdder defendants to respect our Terms of Service -- now and in the future. The stipulated order filed today protects our users and should serve as an example to other parties that try to use the Twitter platform for spam."

As a result of the settlement, TweetAdder said version 3.0 and all prior versions of its service will no longer be available or supported as of April 26, 2013.

"Twitter and TweetAdder have mutually agreed upon a final confidential settlement of their legal dispute regarding TweetAdder Software," a TweetAdder spokesperson told CNET in an e-mail. "All current TweetAdder users will be required to upgrade to the new version of TweetAdder 4.0 by May 24, 2013. As a reminder, TweetAdder users must comply with Twitter's Terms of Service."

Twitter isn't the first tech company to go after spammers in court. Facebook and the Washington state Attorney General filed suits last year against alleged "likejackers" that trick users into "liking" sites, and Google has also filed suits against spammers' online pharmacy scams and work-from-home scams.

Via AllThingsD.

Updated 5/29 at 8:15 p.m. PT with comment from TweetAdder spokesperson.

Corrected 5/29 at 8:15 p.m. PT to state certain versions of TweetAdder cannot be used with Twitter. The story earlier stated all versions could no longer be used with Twitter.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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