After years of complaints by Twitter users around the world, the Montreal Police finally arrested one of the most deranged and prolific spammers on the internet. (SPVM announced the arrest Wednesday 17 August.)
Dennis Markuze, aka “David Mabus” considered himself a prophet of some kind, quoting Nostradamus, and directed his attacks at atheists, especially those in the scientific community. He was a big annoyance to a lot of people for decades (as early as 1993), but when he began making death threats, the hunt was on. Markuze himself was instrumental in his arrest… he began spamming the Montreal Police Department.
Tim Farley has an interesting timeline of “Mabus” history and eventual capture. Here’s a snippet:
Naturally people would use the block function on Twitter on him when he appeared. When enough people block an account quickly enough on Twitter, the account itself is suspended. But this rarely slowed down Mabus very much. He would create another account and continue.
The volume was stunning and the rate was obsessive, to say the very least. Until the end of February, I tracked what what he was posting on Twitter pretty closely, using the BackTweets service to locate his (often long-deleted) posts via the URL he was using on a given day. In five weeks he went through over 330 Twitter accounts.
Near as I can tell, all this posting was done by hand. The posts would be marked as having come from the Twitter web site, and there is no evidence that he was using a script or a robot to do the work for him. He would just sit there and cut and paste.
He would spend hours at it. For example, on February 25th I found 25 separate accounts he used. Based on the timestamps of the posts, he started around 7:30am, and posted more or less continuously until about 10am. He continued somewhat more slowly until noon, when I presume he took a break for lunch. He resumed at 3pm, and posted until 9pm that night. I counted almost 700 tweets. And because of the way Twitter was deleting each account (and all its output) when they noticed the spamming, all of that output from that day was gone within minutes. Disappeared.
Read the whole thing. Fascinating story of one deranged person.