Twitter is not the first online entity to be plagued by porn spammers, as it is an unfortunate and unavoidable part of the internet. As soon as a social site becomes somewhat popular, adult outlets will try to exploit it.
I’m sure many of you had some questionable followers as soon as you joined twitter. The problem has been well reported all over the internet. At least in this case you can block the followers and/or report them (even though it is a pain that Twitter should still address themselves).
However, what you cannot seem to do at this time is to avoid these porn spammers when searching Twitter for completely non-porn related words, or setting up a feed using the Twitter search on your website.
We at 10e20 have the Twitter Feed right on the sidebar ->. All it does is pull the recent tweets from a search for 10e20, which lets you, the reader, quickly see what people are saying about us.
Well, a few days ago, unfortunately that sidebar has been filled with tweets from 4 or 5 porn accounts in a row, because they tweeted about 10e20.
After checking some of those accounts, you can see that they intertwine their tweets between links to their porn sites and tweeting legitimate news and trendy topics. This way their accounts will show up for legitimate searches, and as we found out, in your Twitter feed as well.
Currently, there is no pro-active way for us to battle this. All we can do is write a script to black list those accounts from showing up in our feed after the fact. But I was definitely surprised to find out that Twitter does not have anything in place on their end.
It’s time for Twitter to get on board and introduce an adult filter that’s turned on by default, but can be turned off if a user wishes so (much so like Google applies onto their search).
It would then be up to community to report questionable accounts as ‘adult’ or ‘spam’ (various labels can be introduced) and up to admins to label them as such – so that they don’t show up in the legitimate searches.
A good example of this in action is when you search for Obama on Google. You can be sure that there probably won’t be any porn, even if Google did not have an adult filter, simply because there are many more legit websites about Obama out there. Twitter, however, doesn’t work that way. If you tweet about Obama, you will show up on the search no matter what your account says. So an adult filter seems to be a must in such a scenario.
Furthermore, labeling accounts as adult can open an additional option for users to choose if they want to be followed by an ‘adult’ account or not. So essentially all Twitter activity can be filtered if the individual user wants. Of course, if you don’t mind receiving adult content then you should have an option to turn the filter off.
What do you think? Is it time for an adult filter and why do you think nothing currently exists?