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Twitter spam is on the rise. Is your computer safe?

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First, the good news: according to a new Nielsen report, the amount of time users spend on Twitter rose 3,712 percent to nearly 300 million minutes over the past year. And now, the bad: a substantial portion of that traffic could be spam. Writing today on, Steven Kotler argues that the number of "unwanted tweets is rising. What was once maybe one or two messages a day has now risen to around 10 percent of everything that's showing up."

The first phase of Twitter spam, Kotler says, was easy to identify. Each tweet was a basic link or photo – and users could quickly delete the offending material. But the second phase, "is a lot harder to identify," he continues, "and thus a lot harder to protect against. By using computers to hunt for keywords and replying to 'relevant' usernames, spammers are dumping their Tweets into your 'timelines' — recent Twitter posts by yourself and everyone you're following."


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