Daily Archives: June 9, 2010

A really nasty trend: apps that write to Twitter or Facebook without user understanding/approval

Today I spammed my Twitter followers. I didn’t really know that I was doing that. And that pisses me off.

You’ve probably seen this kind of spam. It usually comes when someone you are following wins a mayor badge on Foursquare. Sometimes you don’t even realize it went out. How many people watch their outbound tweets very closely? I don’t.

But today I tried a new feature from Listorious that lets me answer questions from people who visit my Listorious page. I started answering the dozens of questions that both showed up from the service as well as from people who left questions there. I didn’t notice that the button said “reply and tweet.” Hey, do you read everything closely? Do you understand what that means? That it will shove that answer over to Twitter? I didn’t.

All of a sudden I was getting complaints from people who were getting spammed to death.

Yikes.

Then I went and tried to figure out how to turn it off. I couldn’t find a setting. Keep in mind, this is to answer questions left over on Listorious. Why was it spamming Twitter? Where was the off button? I finally went to Twitter’s connection page http://twitter.com/settings/connections and told it to not allow anything else from Listorious.

Listorious isn’t the only one that does this kind of stuff. Foursquare does it a lot. I can’t figure out how to turn off all Twittering on my Android app for Foursquare.

Hootsuite did it too. They forced you to send out a tweet simply to try a beta of one of their new versions (they don’t do that anymore, they tell me).

This stuff pisses me off. You should NEVER write to Twitter on my behalf without making it VERY clear that it’s about to do that.

But, somehow, I feel we’re about to see more apps that spam Twitter. It makes me itchy and far less likely to turn on connections to other apps like Twitter and Facebook.

Oh, and Twitter needs to add filtering to protect against this kind of spam. “Hide all Listorious messages” would be an awesome new feature for Twitter to add.

UPDATE: I called Gregory, who runs Listorious, and he said it was an honest mistake and that he didn’t think through the implications of turning that feature on. I told him that’s not good enough and that this feature really pissed me off. It took me from someone that was very evangelistic about his service to someone who has blocked his service within minutes.