Saturday, March 03, 2012

Spinuzzi's Spambots

I have a vanity search set up on Tweetdeck so that I can see if people are mentioning my name on Twitter. One blessing of having a name like "Spinuzzi" (as opposed to "Jones" or "Williams") is that I don't get too much noise - a relatively high percentage of Spinuzzi mentions really will be about me. But many aren't. For instance, there's a high school baseball coach in California whose students tweet about him daily.

But what really interests me is a set of bizarre tweets like these, all of which mention "Spinuzzi" in some way:

These all appear autogenerated from a relatively small set of templates:

  • (firstname) (lastname) is (adjective). (pronoun) (verb) the (noun).
  • Going to watch (movie name), (firstname) (lastname) r u ready?
  • (firstname) (lastname) thinks I'm (noun) and (noun).
They've been going on for a while now, at least a few months, and they've increased dramatically. 

Let's click through to one of these accounts and see what it looks like:

Again, we see a relatively small number of templates cranking out a huge number of variations. Why? I'm guessing it has something to do with some of the other tweets interspersed between these ones:

If an account exclusively sent out links to products, perhaps it would be caught in Twitter's spam filters. But if the account also sends out a wide range of legitimate sentences - sentences that have nouns, verbs, and adjectives - it might trick the spam filter into seeing the account as genuine. I suspect that's what's happening here. Bots lying to bots. 


Unknown said...

Spinuzzi is successful. He induce the attention.

Unknown said...

Not sure why I'm "Unknown." Sorry about that. -Collin Brooke

Clay Spinuzzi said...

That was classic!

ailsa said...

web 3.0 is alive and ... well...hope these bots know about fluffy cats as well as porn and viagra. Otherwise they simply arent making the most of the technology!