The popular micro-blogging service Twitter has had a love/hate relationship with BitTorrent during the first few months of the year.
Early February Twitter attributed a phishing attack to an unnamed torrent site script, blaming a torrent site developer for intentionally installing backdoors into his code. The backdoor was then allegedly used to steal passwords and hijack Twitter accounts.
A few weeks later Twitter itself called in the help of BitTorrent to optimize the site’s backend. With BitTorrent, Twitter is planning to distribute files faster and more efficiently, saving time and precious resources and improving the scalability of its operation.
It is great to see that Twitter recognizes the value of BitTorrent since many BitTorrent sites also appreciate and use Twitter’s service to communicate with followers. Last week, however, two torrent sites were suspended by Twitter without prior notice.
YourBitTorrent and TorrentSurf both ‘lost’ their accounts and followers. The reason cited by Twitter was ‘abuse’ but no further details were given. The owner of yourBitTorrent told TorrentFreak that he contacted Twitter over a week ago to find out more, but he hasn’t heard back from them yet.
Although it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the sites have been suspended for copyright related issues, another plausible explanation is that the mass tweets of links to torrent files were seen as a violation of Twitter’s terms of service.
“If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates,” say Twitter, your account could be suspended for spamming. Since both sites were doing just this, this mass posting might have triggered the suspension. If this is indeed the case, other accounts including nearly all popular news feeds are at risk as well.
It seems unlikely that simply being torrent-related makes an account a target for suspension. The account of @EZTV which also lists thousands of torrents, and the highly resourceful @isoHunt and @TorrentFreak are still up and running.