This week, Twitter filed suit against five of the worst spam offenders on Twitter. The suit, filed in San Francisco, CA, hopes to shut down these offending spam tools and setting precedents for future exposure for these tools on Twitter.
It remains to be seen if they have a leg to stand on it court, but there are a number of other Twitter rules to follow when it comes to what is spam and what isn’t. For example, it’s against Twitter policy to impersonate a celebrity, add verified badges to your account that are not approved by the Twitter staff, or publish private information like addresses and credit card information.
The Federal Trade Commission got involved in similar complaints regarding email marketing a few years ago. They established certain rules that must be followed when sending unsolicited emails to individuals.
With Twitter taking “spambots” to court there is a feeling in the air that the same kind of legislation maybe the coming down the line for social networks.
The CAN-SPAM act is actually pretty easy to follow and has some very basic rules set in place. Here’s a breakdown of some of the CAN-SPAM rules and how they might affect marketers on Twitter.
Identify the message as an advertisement. Email marketers must disclose in clear language that the email is an advertisement. You already see this happening on Twitter with things that are hash tagged as #client or #ad.
Monitor what others are doing in your name. Hiring a firm to handle marketing and sitting back as they do spam-like things does not relieve you as your legal responsibility. Get into the habit now of looking at all of the social mentions of your website or company so that you can be on top of how the company is marketing your business. Even if they are violating FTC rules without your consent, your company is the one that will be held legally responsible.
Tell recipients where you’re located. Part of the CAN-SPAM act provisions are that emails must have an address and location for the business doing the solicitation. While this can be hard to do in 140 characters, go ahead and check your profile to be sure that your Contact Us page is in your profile or that you have properly identified your city and state.
While it will be some time before the Twitter V. Spammers drama plays out in court, you can start now by protecting your business and incorporating email rules into your social networking marketing policies.