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Twitter sues PHL-based spammer

April 11, 2012 12:48pm
A Philippine company has gained the attention of Twitter —but not in a good way.
 
The micro-blogging service is pursuing charges in court against companies based in the US and the Philippines for spamming, CourthouseNews.com reported.
 
CourthouseNews.com said Twitter accused the companies of prompting many of its subscribers to leave, and cost it $700,000 in anti-spamming expenses.
 
Twitter accused JL4, incorporated in the Philippines, of also allowing users to broadcast spam tweets in three versions of its software, TweetAttacks.
 
"[JL4] advertises that TweetAttacks Pro allows a user to post tweets and re-tweets through 'thousands of accounts,' simultaneously. TweetAttacks also asserted that if offers '[m]ore options to protect your accounts from getting banned,'" Twitter said.
 
It added such features and representations "have induced Twitter users who license TweetAttacks to violate the TOS [terms of service], and deceived consumers through deceptive advertising."
 
Also, it noted JL4 modified its website in March and discontinued TweetAttacks for download, but continued to serve certain customers.

Also accused was Tennesee, USA-based Skootle.
 
Twitter is now seeking an injunction prohibiting the defendants from using its service, and damages for fraud, breach of contract and unfair business practices.
 
Representing Twitter are David Kramer with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, of Palo Alto.
 
Federal complaint
 
In its federal complaint, Twitter said Skootle Corp., JL4 Web Solutions, Tweetbuddy.com and five people created serial Twitter accounts, tweeted misleading links and promoted third-party software.
 
Such acts violated Twitter's terms of service, which "expressly prohibit spamming."
 
Skootle is the operator of TweetAdder software, which enabled users to create multiple Twitter accounts and broadcast spam tweets.
 
Twitter said Skootle failed to warn its users that it violated Twitter's service agreement.
 
"In recent months, Twitter has received scores of complaints about myriad spam accounts that use the TweetAttacks software," Twitter said in its federal complaint.
 
Another defendant, Justin Clark, was accused of enabling similar spamming via his software, TweetBuddy.
 
Still another defendant, Garland Harris, was accused of operating more than 129,000 Twitter accounts linked to his online auction and online payment services.
 
Also named as defendants are James Kester, Jason Yanuaria, and James Lucero.
 
"Spammers and the makers of spam software, including the defendants in this action, harm Twitter by negatively affecting Twitter users' experience, damaging users' goodwill toward Twitter, and causing Twitter users to terminate their Twitter accounts due to dissatisfaction with the level of spam on Twitter," Twitter said in its complaint.
 
$700k vs spammers
 
Twitter described itself as "one of the world's most popular online communications platforms, with over 140 million active users."
 
Because of the spammers' activities, it said it spent $700,000 on anti-spamming efforts against the defendants, including $300,000 against Clark's TweetBuddy, $150,000 against JL4, and $75,000 against Skootle. — TJD, GMA News



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