Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I've been #twitterjacked

Over the weekend, I discovered that I had been #twitterjacked. An account by the name @lncjmsjones76 had been stealing my tweets (@ljjones) and republishing them as if they were his own without giving any credit to me. It was easy enough to do, as I am sure the person just grabbed my Twitter RSS feed and used a robot to republish it to his account.

Like anything rising in popularity, Twitter has experienced its own forms of spam and nefarious behavior. We have seen many accounts set up to impersonate famous people. While some were created out of respect for the famous person, many have been set up with the intent to deceive.

The great thing about Twitter is that everyone is willing to look out for the people in their network. I was alerted to the fraudulent account by a friend of mine named Anthony Power (@apowerpoint). I had sent him an @reply a few days ago, and over the weekend, he received the same exact @reply from @lncjmsjones76. Realizing someone was stealing my tweets, he sent me an email with a link to the account.

What I can’t figure out is why steal my Tweets. I would like to think that it is because my Tweets were so full of wisdom that they are worth stealing, but I am sure that’s not the case. I was probably randomly picked by someone too lazy to tweet themselves who was trying to build a profile. The weird thing is that I couldn’t see any objective in creating the profile. The profile looked liked it used a fake name that it had created from my initials and there wasn’t even a link to a website.

After doing some investigating, I contacted Twitter and they suspended the account for me, but not before I had a little fun with it. Knowing that it was all automated, I figured I would post a few tweets proving that the account was a fraud. So I tweeted and an hour later, this tweet showed up in the other account.

If you think you have been #twitterjacked, grab one of your tweets that’s a few days old and plug it into the Twitter search. Do it both, with and without quotes around it. If you do find that someone is doing something suspicious, report it to Twitter through their @spam account.


SerenityLife said...

That is why I recommend that some people go ahead and be private on twitter but regardless it will happen. You handled your situation well and documented it via your blog. That is the only way (how I feel) how to get back at this.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

MikeFitz said...

Then there's the clowns who set up re-tweet bot armies to increase their own popularity.

Maybe @lncjmsjones76 was set up to look authentic but will be used later for some nefarious marketing purpose.