Is creating an automated bot to spew out useless and misleading Twitter messages as annoying - and as legally punishable - as sending out massive spam e-mails? Twitter seems to think so, and has filed a lawsuit against several companies that create tools for automated tweets, saying they damage the site's reputation and are hurting its business. The companies in question do nothing but litter Twitter with fake profiles and unwanted messages.
Those named in the lawsuit are TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBuddy, Garland Harries, and James Lucero. "By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. With this suit, we’re going straight to the source," Twitter wrote in a public blog post. The company wants you to know it's as annoyed by these spammers as you are.
There is no shortage of examples when it comes to e-mail service providers and even individual e-mail users suing spammers and winning, though in the growing social market, where the laws aren't quite the same, there's less case history. Nevertheless, Twitter doesn't want these guys to go to prison. It just has to prove that they are violating its terms of service and willfully damaging the site. Of course, it will most likely get settled out of court.