Twitter filed a $600,000 lawsuit yesterday against two companies and five individuals for violating Twitter’s terms of service (TOS) by spamming users, the company stated in a filing with the District Court of the Northern District of California in San Francisco.
“By this action, Twitter seeks to hold defendants and those who continue to ply the spam trade accountable for the costs of their misconduct and further safeguard its platform and users from blatantly abusive activities,” Twitter stated in the complaint.
In the filing, Twitter claims the defendants have participated in “harmful” and “abusive behavior” such as posting Tweets with harmful links and posting masses of unwanted messages to users, among other acts, that violate Twitter’s TOS.
The defendants include against Skootle Corporation, JL4 Web Solutions and individuals Justin Clark, James Kester, Jayson Yanuaria, James Lucero and Garland Harris. Yanuria works for JL4 Web Solutions, while Kester works for Skootle Corporation. Justin Clark works for TweetBuddy.com, however TweetBuddy.com was not named as a defendant in the case. The three other individuals work independently.
Lucero’s violations include sending misleading Tweets from fake accounts promising to teach recipients how to get celebrity singer Justin Bieber to follow the recipients’ Twitter accounts. However, the links in the Tweets direct to Lucero’s spam websites.
Additionally, the defendants’ behavior also harm Twitter, the company said in its complaint, by negatively affecting user experience on the social network, which caused them to terminate their Twitter accounts.
Due to the defendants’ continuous violations, Twitter claimed to have had to invest thousands of dollars on anti-spam efforts. “Twitter would not have incurred these costs if such misconduct did not take place,” the company stated.
“With this suit, we’re going straight to the source. By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal,” Twitter said in a blog post after filing. “Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.”
While Twitter is fortifying its attempt to keep spammers from using the site, it has also introduced tools to help legitimate businesses reach out to customers with relevant notices and offers.
Twitter did not immediately return requests for comment.