After the blasts in Mumbai on Wednesday evening, many turned to Twitter for the latest information. Most tweets about the explosions featured the hash tagged term #mumbaiblasts to make identifying relevant posts easier. The live-updating stream included critical information, with tweets sharing emergency phone numbers and links to a public spreadsheet where anyone who wanted to help could post their contact information.
But some of the #mumbaiblasts posts aimed to exploit the attention. Several provocative tweets like “OMG British royalty hurt in #mumbaiblast,” “#MumbaiBlasts done by Bin Laden Apparently he is not dead. See here” and “First Lady caught up in #Mumbai blasts” were posted throughout the evening and from numerous Twitter accounts. All these tweets included links to blog posts that had nothing to do with the explosions. To someone following the stream live, clicking on these links would have been a confusing experience.
But these posts weren’t trying to make sense. They just wanted clicks. These spam tweets linked to “spam blogs,” blogs that exist solely to attract as many views for their sites as possible and sell ads against them. The entities behind these blogs can use computer programs to create an army of Twitter accounts that all link back to the blogs. And while it may be particularly repugnant that spammers would capitalize on a disaster to boost their page views, it’s not unusual. If you follow any of the most popular phrases on Twitter, spam tweets will pop up, regardless of the topic. Twitter banned many of the #mumbaiblasts spam accounts shortly after they were created, but for those who were logged in as events unfolded, it was too late.
Most of the spam tweets have been removed from Twitter since we first saw them there. We went back and found them by plugging in one of the spam links to Backtweets, a site that combs Twitter to find all the tweets linking to an individual webpage. The spammers have apparently moved on to other topics like Justin Timberlake and iPads, but you can still find the #mumbaiblast spam deep in the search results.
There’s not much the average user can do to avoid falling victim to the spam’s tweet trap, except to know that if the Tweet sounds too crazy to be true, it probably is. Twitter also offers this tutorial on how to report spam accounts.
LINK TO OUR HOME PAGE :