My friend Mark has a neat idea.
Reply spam on Twitter is on the up and because anybody can send a (public) message to anybody else on Twitter (whether you’re following each other or not) there’s not much you can do about it until it happens. As Twitter expands, this is going to become more and more of an issue. A simple security measure that asked new users to authorise their tweets could all but end this problem overnight.
Yes, having to enter CAPTCHA information all the time can be really annoying, particularly if you’re a seasoned user (I’m looking at you, Facebook) but if Twitter implemented this as a requirement for brand-new accounts then you could essentially eliminate reply spam overnight (certainly from bots).
It wouldn’t even need to work on a number of people basis, as Mark suggests. If each new Twitter user had to complete a CAPTCHA for their first ten tweets and/or direct messages, probably 99% of all spambots would be nullified.
Once you’ve satisfied this trial period, no more CAPTCHA for you.
Aside from the marginal annoyance for newbies, can you think of any good reason why this wouldn’t work?
(Another solution would be for Twitter to verify all accounts, and not just a smattering of celebrities and brands. No verification, no unauthorised replies for you.)