How bad is Twitter’s spam problem? Not insignificant, but not huge, either.
Spam messages account for 3.75% of all tweets, according to a study by Pear Analytics summarized by BBC News.
This may have surprised the researchers — they assumed most tweets would already be spam or self-promotion — but it shouldn’t have. Twitter is still a relatively new form of communication, and spam techniques are still evolving. Email, on the other hand, is overwhelmingly overrun with spam: Some 90% of all email in May 2009.
The potentially bad news for Twitter: This problem is probably only going to get worse as Twitter becomes more popular. And just a minor increase in spam messages could annoy users and affect Twitter’s reputation. So it’s likely the company will have to invest significant resources in anti-spam measures going forward.
What are the rest of tweets if they’re not spam?
The Pear Analytics study found that 40% of tweets are “pointless babble,” another 8.75% of Twitter messages have news content that can be passed along, 37% are conversational tweets, and 6% are self-promotion messages.
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