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Twitter to spammers: We're suing

The social-networking site is working to shut down five popular spam tool providers by suing them in federal court.

Twitter has had enough of TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBuddy, Troption, and Justinlover. So much so, that the microblogging site filed a suit against these five tool providers and spammers in San Francisco's federal court this morning.

"Our engineers continue to combat spammers' efforts to circumvent our safeguards, and today we're adding another weapon to our arsenal: the law," Twitter announced on its blog today. "With this suit, we're going straight to the source."

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.

The tool provider justinlover.info says its tool can help users get Justin Bieber to follow them. "So, if you really want to, all you have to do is to seize the right moment, for example, the time when he just updates his twitter, then immediately leave him messages," the site says. "You'd better keep leaving him messages to attract his attention."

Twitter now has 140 million active users and more than 340 million tweets a day, which makes it a prime target for spammers. The social network says that the suit filed today is intended to "act as a deterrent" to spammers and send a clear message to would-be spammers that there are consequences for violating its anti-spam rules.

"One challenge in battling spam are bad actors who build tools designed to distribute spam on Twitter (and the Web) by making it easier for other spammers to engage in this annoying and potentially malicious activity," Twitter wrote on its blog.

Besides the suit, the company has also taken other anti-spam efforts including acquiring the anti-malware company Dasient, using its link shortener to analyze whether a tweeted link leads to spam, and making it easy for users to report or block spammers.

Twitter isn't the first tech company to go after spammers in court. In January, Facebook and the Washington State Attorney General filed suits 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.