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How Many Clicks to Report Twitter Spam?

Published on March 26, 2012 by Ryan Irelan

Twitter spam is a big problem. Post a tweet that contains popular keywords (“iPad”, “iPhone”) and it’s likely you will get a spam account reply. These replies usually just contain a link or maybe some text and then a link. Usually they’re easily identifiable because they have the default Twitter egg avatar. Those spammers are a savvy pack, so they now try to make their accounts look as legitimate as possible while soiling Twitter with their droppings.

Up until this point, any effort by Twitter to eliminate spam seems to be not working (although it would be much worse if they did nothing), so a lot of the effort of finding and banning spammers is left to us, the users of Twitter. Depending on how much Twitter spam you get, this could be an annoying–and time consuming– task if you were set on reporting each and every spammer that replied to you. For some, the amount of spam takes the edge off the fun of using Twitter. For others, it’s just unusable.

What happens when you report a spammer?

Per Twitter’s support documentation, the offending user is blocked from following you or replying to you and the account is added to the queue to be reviewed by Twitter. Twitter notes: “You may not immediately or definitely see this account suspended.”

I’ve used several different Twitter clients on OS X and iOS. Here’s a run-down of some of the clients and how many taps (or clicks) it takes to report spam. Some are better than others as you’ll see. All but one of them fall into either 3 or 4 clicks/taps to report a spammer.

To test the path to reporting a spammer, I used each of the applications and first searched for “iPad” and then reported the first spam tweet I saw.

Here’s the full report on a group of apps and the clicks or taps required. The full description of each app’s interaction is below the table, in the same order. Note that I have listed some alternative paths to reporting based on feedback from wonderful people on Twitter. Also, on iOS apps I count a tap to scroll as a tap. I don’t count moving the mouse on OS X as an action.

How many clicks or taps does it take to report a spammer?
App Clicks/Taps
Twitter.com 3 clicks
Twitter iOS 4 taps
Tweetdeck 3 clicks
Twitterrific OS X 3 clicks
Twitterrific iOS 3 taps
Tweetbot iPhone 3 taps
Tweetbot iPad 3 taps
Echofon OS X 3 clicks
Echofon iOS 4-5 taps
Hootsuite 3 clicks
Twittelator 4 taps
Hibari 3 clicks
Tweet Library 2 clicks
Dr. Twoot 1 click

Twitter.com

This is the same as other Twitter products, like Tweetdeck (they use similar web interfaces). It takes 3 clicks on Twitter.com to report a spammer.

  1. Click on the name or avatar on the offending tweet.
  2. Click the user icon menu.
  3. Choose “Report [username] for spam”

Twitter iOS

From the main timeline, it takes 4 taps to report and block a spammer.

  1. Tap the tweet the offending tweet.
  2. Tap the user box at the top.
  3. Tap the User (icon) menu.
  4. Tap “Report Spam”

Alternatively, you can right swipe the offending tweet and choose the User menu, which brings you to Step 3 above. You still need to tap the User menu and “Report Spam.”

Tweetdeck

From the main timeline, it takes 3 clicks to report and block a spammer.

  1. Click on the avatar of the spam tweet.
  2. Click on the User (icon) menu
  3. Click “Report [account name] for spam”

Twitterrific OS X

From the main timeline, it takes 3 clicks to report and block a spammer.

  1. Click on avatar of spam tweet.
  2. Click on Actions menu
  3. Select “Block” and click

Or you can right-click on the avatar of the offending tweet, choose “Report as Spam” and then confirm. Still, three clicks.

Twitterific iOS

From the main timeline, it takes 3 taps to report and block a spammer.

  1. Tap the offending tweet’s avatar.
  2. Tap the Actions menu.
  3. Tap “Report Spammer”


Or you can tap and hold on the avatar of the offending tweet, choose “Report as Spam” and then confirm. Still, three taps.

Tweetbot iPad

There are two ways to report a spammer in Tweetbot for iPad. Only the first is show in the video.

From the main timeline, it takes three taps to report and block a spammer.

  1. Tap on avatar of spam tweet.
  2. In the navigation bar at the top tap the (/) symbol.
  3. Tap “Report for Spam”


You can also use the shortcut in Tweetbot to access actions on the user.

  1. Tap and hold the user’s avatar
  2. Tap to choose “Report for Spam” option
  3. Tap to confirm

Tweetbot iPhone

From the main timeline, it takes 4 taps to report and block a spammer.

  1. Tap on avatar of spam tweet.
  2. Tap to scroll down to bottom of screen.
  3. Tap “Block or Report as Spam” button.
  4. Tap “Report for Spam”

You can also use the shortcut in Tweetbot to access actions on the user.

  1. Tap and hold the user’s avatar
  2. Tap to choose “Report for Spam” option
  3. Tap to confirm

Echofon OS X

From the main timeline, it takes 4 clicks to report and block a spammer.

  1. Click on username or avatar of offending tweet.
  2. Click on gear menu.
  3. Choose the “Report for spam…” option
  4. Confirm the report by clicking “Report for Spam”

From the @ replies tab, you can report a spammer with only 3 clicks. Right-click on the offending tweet, choose Report Spammer, and then confirm.

Echofon iOS

From the main timeline on the iPhone, it takes 5 taps to report and block a spammer.

  1. Tap the offending tweet.
  2. Tap the user name
  3. Tap to scroll down to bottom of view.
  4. Tap “Block”
  5. Tap “Block & Report Spam”

If you are on the iPad, there’s no need to scroll, so it’s only 4 taps, not 5.

Hootsuite

From the main timeline, it takes 3 clicks to report and block a spammer.

  1. Click on the name or avatar of the offending tweet.
  2. In the user window, click on “Report Spammer”
  3. Confirm the report by clicking “OK”

Twittelator

From the main timeline, it takes 4 taps to report and block a spammer. I tried this using the free version but was prompted to buy the paid version of the app when I tried to block the spammer in the fourth step.

  1. Tap the avatar of the offending tweet.
  2. Tap the “Mute / Block / Notify” option
  3. Tap “Report as Spammer”
  4. Assume you must confirm here.

Hibari

It takes 3 clicks to report and block a spammer. I used a trial of Hibari to test this out.

  1. Right click on the offending tweet.
  2. Choose “Report as Spam”
  3. Click “Report as Spam” button to confirm the spam report.

The Single-click Report

Only one application I’ve read about allows single-click reporting of spam. Dr Twoot by Dr. Drang. The app is available on GitHub, so you can download it and give it a try. In the README for Dr. Toot, it says:

Dr. Twoot provides one-click spam reporting.

Well, there we go.

The one-click spam reporting is a recent addition to Dr. Twoot (added in February 2012) and after a reporting mentions are removed from the Twitter stream and the offending tweet is crossed out.

What’s a Click or Tap?

There are different types of clicks or taps. For example, the shortcut on Tweetbot to report a spammer is still three taps but those taps are all in the same view. It doesn’t require loading new views or scrolling. Those taps are, arguably, better taps than the ones that move you through app views.

You Got a Better Tap?

If you have a better path to reporting spam for any of the apps above or have an app that does a great job at making it easy to report spam, let me know on Twitter.

Filed Under: Research & Experiments