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Twitter tries 'following' limits to curb spam

In response to problems with spam accounts that add thousands of members as "followers," Twitter decides you can only follow 2,000 people unless that number follow you, too.

Did you know that you can only follow 2,000 people on Twitter--unless there are at least 2,000 people who have opted to follow you?

This was one of the measures that the microblogging service formally announced Thursday as part of a new system to cut down on spam. The company acknowledged it only obliquely, but bloggers like David Risley picked up on the news and spread the word.

Twitter spam accounts are known for adding thousands of followers and then hoping that some of the unwitting Twitter users will follow the spam account in return--most don't, meaning that spam accounts tend to have a disproportionately low number of followers in contrast to the number of people they've added. But extremely popular Twitter accounts, from Web celebs like Jason Calacanis to the Twitter feeds for news outlets like CNN and political campaigns like Barack Obama's, Twitter still allows the adding of more than 2,000 followers. The rationale is that if people are willing to add them back, they probably aren't spam.

Risley suggested that Twitter could offer paid accounts to raise the limit, which could be a viable first step for a service that still has not put a business model in place.