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I posted this as an update on my Facebook Page this morning, and it ended up being a bit of an essay that is probably better suited here, so here we go…

Last week I had a query from one of my clients who was concerned about a strange message they received on Twitter that they weren’t sure how to reply to.

A quick look revealed to me that the sender had been hacked, but my client is new to Twitter and hadn’t been exposed to this dark side yet.

Basically, there are two main types of spam on Twitter:

1. Spam accounts that only (or predominantly) send spam tweets

You will often receive this type of spam as a public @reply tweet directly to you. Sometimes as a response to a keyword in a tweet you’ve sent.

It may just be a link, or something nonsensical or irrelevant like:

“Hey sexy check this out: {link}”

(although you may be sexy so that’s not entirely irrelevant).


What to do: You can just ignore these if you like. Or my rule of thumb is to check their account and what they’ve previously tweeted. Also look at whether they have a genuine number of followers and following.

If it’s low, or none, and if all of their previous tweets are these type of spammy tweets, you may wish to use the “Report as Spam” feature on their profile, that notifies Twitter that they may be a spam account.

2. Genuine accounts that have been hacked by spammers

These spam tweets tend to come as Direct Messages (private DMs) and as such are from people you follow (as at this stage you can only send DMs to people who follow you).

Again, it may just be a link, or something like: “Have you seen this? {link}” or “Is this you? {link}”


If you know this person and know they are not usually a spammer, chances are they’ve been hacked and need to change their password.

What to do: Contact them and let them know, either by a public message or DM, or by email or other contact methods (particularly if they’re not a regular tweeter and unlikely to see the message soon).

Super special bonus content!

Did you know that the term “spam” (in the way that we use it for online and email today) originated from a Monty Python sketch?


Do you have any other tips for dealing with spammers on Twitter? Let me know in the comments…


Erica Stacey

Erica is a Google Analytics and Google Ads certified professional, so you’re in qualified hands. Erica has had over a decade of experience – working for agencies and a wide range of clients – in digital and social media marketing strategy, website development, search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing (SEM), content marketing, inbound marketing, online advertising and so much more. A professional in the field of design, branding and marketing, she is a trusted name in the South Australian and online community to help an array of businesses sort out and achieve their marketing objectives.

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