Twitter filed a lawsuit on Thursday in a U.S. court against five websites that it accuses of creating tools for spamming, as the social media firm battles a wave of automated tweets barraging real users with anything from Viagra ads to virus-ridden links. Often billed as a service to help a Twitter account gain followers, websites can take control of an account, known as a bot, that follows or sends automated tweets at real users in the hope that some will follow the bot back or click through links the bot has sent out. "As our engineers continue to combat spammers with strong safeguards and technical efforts, today we're adding another weapon to our arsenal: the law," Twitter said in a blog post. Twitter now claims 140 million active users. As its user base has grown, so have bots and spam, emerging as a problem that Twitter fears could dilute the online conversation and irk bona fide users.
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