Recently I mentioned that I was testing new tools created by Manton to delete spam accounts as soon as they post. The community reaction was “What spam?” That is the way Micro.blog is intended to work: it is difficult for spammers to get access to individual timelines. If you don’t follow someone, their posts won’t appear in your timeline. Very rarely, we have seen attempts to use @-mentions to spam individuals, but we can shut down those spammers pretty quickly.
The problem that we have decided to tackle is the many spammers who create free accounts on Micro.blog every day. As we state in the new policy, “Hosting spam accounts is the antithesis of our mission.” Even if the timelines of the folks in the Micro.blog community are not affected, it feels wrong for us to allow scammers to consume any of our resources, or to allow our servers to be used for purposes that are contrary to our values. It also makes curating the Discover timeline more time-consuming and a bit depressing, because so many of the posts that come into our admin timeline are spam.
Now, as we curate, we can “zap” a spam account, which turns off that account’s ability to post further or to send @-mentions. We also send a notice that their account will be deleted in 5 days. The decision can be appealed by replying to the notice. I have been zapping about 100 accounts a day. We will keep refining the tools to make them easier and faster to use.
Here is the section we added to the Micro.blog community guidelines. We are always interested getting feedback from the community about our guidelines and hearing about your experiences. Feel free to reply to this post, or email me at email@example.com.
Micro.blog is a service for individuals to share their writing and other creative endeavors. Organizations can also use Micro.blog to share news and information about their products, programs and services.
Unfortunately, the internet has become a place where entities, whether individuals or organizations, have taken advantage of the internet’s vast reach and inexpensive communications to automate account creation and posting in order to gain search engine placement for their product’s keywords. This kind of spam is a drain on Micro.blog’s resources. Its purveyors exploit an open system and a free account option that is intended for individuals who want to blog.
To protect our service from those who would use it for unscrupulous commercial gain, we delete spam accounts with a five-day warning via email.
Here are the things we consider to be spam:
- Building backlinks and publishing SEO-optimized articles that don’t offer any real value.
- Repeatedly posting the same content.
- Certain types of business in particular will be flagged for spam: escort services, bitcoin trading, casinos and gaming, multi-level marketing, medical treatments and prescriptions. This list of examples is not all-inclusive.
- Contacting people on Micro.blog for commercial purposes without their consent.
Micro.blog has blocked search engine crawlers for free accounts, so there is no value in opening an account for pure SEO purposes.
Hosting spam accounts is the antithesis of our mission. We will be vigilant and proactive in shutting down such accounts when they are created. If you receive a notice from us that your account will be deleted for spamming our platform, you can appeal that decision by responding to the notice.