Twitter has never really solved its spam problem. It is a constant irritation that ordinary people get booted off the service for minor infractions, while large spam rings go unpunished.
For the past few months, some of my old tweets have been getting liked by random women. I'm sure you've see something similar.
The idea is, I suppose, to arouse your curiosity. "Who is this young woman showering me with attention? I'd better check her profile!"
Gosh! Young, pretty, single, and she's interested in me!!! WOWEE!
Scroll down, and you'll see lots of videos of the woman dancing, posing for the camera, and generally Tweeting plausibly generic statements.
But... I've got a nagging feeling that I've seen this woman - and her bio - before. I've seen it a lot.
By my count, there's at least 60 of these identikit spam accounts. They all have the same bio - with the same idiosyncratic punctuation of "I´m". And they all post identical content. Whether it's "Olivia", "Amelia", or "Lucy" - it appears to be the same set of photos and videos. Possibly stolen from some unwitting person's private account.
The avatar changes, as do the captions on the photos. But it is mostly identical media posted in the same order.
If you scroll back far enough through the (identical) spam content, you can usually find archaeological evidence of the previous user.
They all seem to follow this pattern. Accounts which were last active several years ago, which have been re-purposed into spam. A few are more recently active - this one still has the author's pinned Tweet from a few months ago.
I suspect credential stuffing - or the hack of a once-popular Twitter app.
So, what happens if you're daft enough to follow one of these spam-sirens? You get a DM pretty quickly.
This totally real person is watching TV, just like me! Oh, and she has sent an unsolicited "booty" pic - just like a regular girl! Wow! I'd better follow her on this not-at-all shady site…
It is such boring, obvious spam. It doesn't require some super-advanced AI to detect.
If an account suddenly changes its name and profile image - especially on a dormant account - that should be flagged.
Posting content - in the same order - as other spam accounts? Flagged!
Sending DMs with a link to a spam site? Flagged!
Sure, shutting down these obvious spam accounts may lead spammers and fraudsters to try more complex routes to evade detection. It's all an arms race.
But when Twitter doesn't make the bare minimum effort to protect users, then it begins to smell a bit like negligence.