Sign in to your Twitter account, go to, and drop

  No, the junk followers aren't britbots, but if you don't have any losers
following you your britbot exposure goes way, way, way down. I'm
particularly suspicious of the followers that have 800 people they watch, no
profile information, and no one following them back. That's an obvious
sleeper/query type thing that could be feeding such behavior.

   Of course, you have to start valuing your followers differently - total
count is meaningless unless you're factoring in their @Klout or something
similar. My 600 real people followers are worth far more than 60,000 random
Twitter users that never actually read the things those marketing drone
accounts are saying ...

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 3:19 PM, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky <>wrote:

> I'm hearing from many Twitter users that the frustration level caused
> by the "Britney Bots" is rising. I'm going to use some euphemisms to
> make this message safe for work, but the particular bots in question
> are certainly not work-safe.
> The _modus operandi_ of these bots is as follows:
> 1. Get a Twitter account. These are usually of the form <small English
> word><5 digit number>. The profile picture is typically not safe for
> work.
> 2. Collect screen names somehow. They must at least be polling the
> public timeline. Frequent tweeters seem to get more of them. Perhaps
> they are doing searches as well, or mining the profiles of the screen
> names they've collected for more screen names.
> 3. Send an @ reply to each name collected. These come in bursts - I
> haven't done any research into the frequency at which they are sent
> but a number of tweets go out in a burst. The tweets themselves are
> not safe for work.
> The bots do *not* appear to be following anybody - they only show up
> if you do a "mentions" search. What's worse, though, is that people
> are retweeting these things! There is a movement on Twitter, using the
> hashtag #StopBritneyBots, to attempt to get Twitter to put some kind
> of filtering in place. I'm not sure what the status of that is in
> Twitter - perhaps some of the Twitter people on this list can chime
> in. Meanwhile, this particular bot has an easily-detected "signature"
> - you can collect the bot names via Twitter search!
> 1. Do a Twitter search for the following string (the double quotes are
> part of the string!):
>     '"(Click the link at top right of my profile)"'
>    Note that the returned tweets from this search will mostly be not
> safe for work!
> 2. Break each resulting tweet into space-separated tokens.
> 3. Scan the tokens from right to left. The first @name you encounter
> will be the destination "victim". The second one you encounter will be
> the bot that sent it.
> At this point, you could build a bot to report the bots as spammers.
> Personally, I think anyone who retweets one of these ought to be
> considered a spammer as well. ;-) In any event, I've got some code
> using the Net::Twitter Perl library that collects the tweets, and I
> can supply a list of names to Twitter if they'd like.
> I'd prefer, of course, that Twitter deal with this at the inlets to
> the tweet stream. But I think there's a significant enough groundswell
> in the "community" that we will see bots arise using the algorithm
> I've described above. I've been asked to create one, but I'm holding
> off - there are some murky legalities involved and I have more
> interesting research in Twitter text mining I want to do. ;-)
> Twitter, what say you? Developer community, what say you?
> --
> M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
> "I've always regarded nature as the clothing of God." ~Alan Hovhaness

-- //
IM: nealrauhauser

Reply via email to