Determine if users are blocked/blacklisted by Twitter

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Jesse Stay

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May 1, 2008, 4:04:03 PM5/1/08
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I mentioned this awhile back and I think it was mentioned it was being considered.  Right now if I look at a user that Twitter has "blacklisted" (is that the right term?), such as 1PinkRibbon, it shows them as following me, but I'm not following them.  However, there is nothing in the API that I'm aware of that indicates that user is "blacklisted".  Therefore, when I try to follow them, the Twitter API returns with no error message, acting as though that user has been followed, when in reality they aren't because Twitter doesn't allow it.  Is there (or will there be) a way to determine which Twitter users have been blacklisted so I can prevent my script from trying to follow those users?  Maybe just an error from the follow API call would be a start so I can track them and not try to follow them again.  Or is there a way to do this that I'm not aware of?

Thanks,

Jesse

Alex Payne

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May 1, 2008, 4:43:42 PM5/1/08
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We don't want to give spammers any easy signals that they've been
blacklisted. If the community can figure out a way to do this, we'll
support it.

--
Alex Payne
http://twitter.com/al3x

Jesse Stay

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May 1, 2008, 5:34:08 PM5/1/08
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If you could just not let them follow us, and not show them in our list of followers, that could be one way.  What's the use of letting them follow whomever they want but not letting us follow them back (and at the same time make it appear as though the follow went through)?  Right now I can easily tell they've been blacklisted because they show up as following me, but day after day they keep showing up after I try to follow them.  For now I'll just have to approach it with that method, but if you could either a) just let them follow people and let developers create their own "blacklist" solutions, or b) not let them follow anyone after they've been blacklisted, that would be ideal.  After any type of action has been taken however it's pretty easy for them to tell they've been blacklisted if they wanted to.

Twitter's a great crowd-sourcing tool if you provide the tools for the crowd to deal with these Spammers - there's more of us than there are them.  Just my $.02...

--Jesse
--
Jesse Stay
The "Social" Geek

CEO, Founder, Consultant: Stay N' Alive Productions, LLC
Author: O'Reilly's FBML Essentials http://www.amazon.com/FBML-Essentials-Jesse-Stay/dp/0596519184/
Co-Author: I'm on Facebook -- Now What??? http://www.amazon.com/Im-Facebook-Now-What-Personal-Professional/dp/1600050956/

Blogger:

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http://OpensocialNow.com
http://FacebookAdvice.com

Phone: (801) 853-8339

Alex Popescu

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May 3, 2008, 2:48:17 PM5/3/08
to Twitter Development Talk
On May 2, 12:34 am, "Jesse Stay" <jesses...@gmail.com> wrote:
> If you could just not let them follow us, and not show them in our list of
> followers, that could be one way.  What's the use of letting them follow
> whomever they want but not letting us follow them back (and at the same time
> make it appear as though the follow went through)?  Right now I can easily
> tell they've been blacklisted because they show up as following me, but day
> after day they keep showing up after I try to follow them.  For now I'll
> just have to approach it with that method, but if you could either a) just
> let them follow people and let developers create their own "blacklist"
> solutions, or b) not let them follow anyone after they've been blacklisted,
> that would be ideal.  After any type of action has been taken however it's
> pretty easy for them to tell they've been blacklisted if they wanted to.
>
> Twitter's a great crowd-sourcing tool if you provide the tools for the crowd
> to deal with these Spammers - there's more of us than there are them.  Just
> my $.02...
>
> --Jesse
>

Jesse, I am not very sure I am following you. On your side (not a
spammer) the current mechanism will give you hints
that you are trying to follow a spammer (the follow action will
silently return). On the spammer side the current mechanism allows him
to follow new users so he has not hints that receiving new followers
is blocked.

cheers,

./alex
--
.w( the_mindstorm )p.
Alexandru Popescu


>
>
> On Thu, May 1, 2008 at 2:43 PM, Alex Payne <a...@twitter.com> wrote:
>
> > We don't want to give spammers any easy signals that they've been
> > blacklisted.  If the community can figure out a way to do this, we'll
> > support it.
>
> Author: O'Reilly's FBML Essentialshttp://www.amazon.com/FBML-Essentials-Jesse-Stay/dp/0596519184/
> Co-Author: I'm on Facebook -- Now What???http://www.amazon.com/Im-Facebook-Now-What-Personal-Professional/dp/1...
>
> Blogger:
>
> http://StayNAlive.comhttp://OpensocialNow.comhttp://FacebookAdvice.com
>
> Phone: (801) 853-8339

Jan Krämer

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May 6, 2008, 4:03:48 PM5/6/08
to Twitter Development Talk
Am Thursday, 1. May 2008 schrieb Alex Payne:
> We don't want to give spammers any easy signals that they've been
> blacklisted. If the community can figure out a way to do this, we'll
> support it.

How about making the "anti-following" a.k.a. "block" public? If a lot of
people around me are blocking a particular user, it would be a strong
signal for me to block that user too (or have it done
automatically...); it might also be an incentive for people to actually
use the blocking possibility more actively and thus reducing the
spammers impact.

That way there would be no need for a specific blacklist, and there can
be multiple ways to decide what is a spammer anyways. (One person's
spammer could be another one's source of involuntary comedy).


Have a nice day

- Jan Krämer

Jesse Stay

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May 6, 2008, 4:10:14 PM5/6/08
to twitter-deve...@googlegroups.com
On Sat, May 3, 2008 at 12:48 PM, Alex Popescu <the.mindstor...@gmail.com> wrote:
Jesse, I am not very sure I am following you. On your side (not a
spammer) the current mechanism will give you hints
that you are trying to follow a spammer (the follow action will
silently return). On the spammer side the current mechanism allows him
to follow new users so he has not hints that receiving new followers
is blocked.


The issue I'm having, unless I'm missing something, is that the current follow action silently returns, whether the user is a spammer or not, making it hard to determine that individual is a spammer or not.  (I'd prefer not to follow him/her if they are a spammer)  Is it supposed to be returning something that I just haven't checked for?

Thanks,

Jesse

Jesse Stay

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May 6, 2008, 4:11:21 PM5/6/08
to twitter-deve...@googlegroups.com
On Sat, May 3, 2008 at 12:48 PM, Alex Popescu <the.mindstor...@gmail.com> wrote:
Jesse, I am not very sure I am following you. On your side (not a
spammer) the current mechanism will give you hints
that you are trying to follow a spammer (the follow action will
silently return). On the spammer side the current mechanism allows him
to follow new users so he has not hints that receiving new followers
is blocked.

cheers,

./alex
--
.w( the_mindstorm )p.
 Alexandru Popescu

Alex Payne

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May 6, 2008, 7:45:14 PM5/6/08
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Jesse,

We've been considering this issue here at Twitter HQ, and we're
planning on simply removing the accounts of users who have violated
our Terms of Service, as opposed to freezing their account as we've
done in the past. Going forward, you should no longer run into
accounts that behave in unexpected ways. You can find more about our
approach to spam and abusive users in a recent thread on our
Satisfaction support site.

--
Alex Payne
http://twitter.com/al3x

Jesse Stay

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May 6, 2008, 8:11:55 PM5/6/08
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On Tue, May 6, 2008 at 5:45 PM, Alex Payne <al...@twitter.com> wrote:

Jesse,

We've been considering this issue here at Twitter HQ, and we're
planning on simply removing the accounts of users who have violated
our Terms of Service, as opposed to freezing their account as we've
done in the past.  Going forward, you should no longer run into
accounts that behave in unexpected ways.  You can find more about our
approach to spam and abusive users in a recent thread on our
Satisfaction support site.

Awesome Alex - That IMO is the perfect solution.  I suggest giving them warning at least beforehand - wouldn't want Twitter to run into similar situations as Facebook with their automated account cancellations. (Scoble had his account cancelled due to "spaminess")  Thanks for being so proactive and listening to us!

Jesse

Alex Payne

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May 6, 2008, 8:52:29 PM5/6/08
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Oh, we'll surely give people notice and the opportunity to correct any
ToS-violating behavior.

--
Alex Payne
http://twitter.com/al3x

Shannon Whitley

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May 7, 2008, 10:47:28 AM5/7/08
to Twitter Development Talk
Hi Jesse,

There are several of us also trying to address this on the user side.
I'd love to get your feedback on http://MyTweeple.com

The list is integrated with the TwitterBlacklist and has it's own
'Ding' feature. We're trying to provide as many tools as possible to
allow people to make informed decisions on who they follow.

Shannon

engtech

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May 7, 2008, 5:07:45 PM5/7/08
to Twitter Development Talk
Any hints on to what constitutes spaminess?

I've written programs for synchronizing my Twitter/Friend Feed
contacts and for auto-following back non-spammy users on Twitter. Any
chance that would trigger the banhammer?

I also have another program for keeping the followers on twitter.com/
engtech and twitter.com/et (my link dump) synchronized that might seem
spammy.
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