Ever wonder why spammers have to use phony applications in order to spam from profiles? Why don’t they just make profiles and send friend requests to a crowd of people and post spam onto timelines and statuses? Why don’t spammers have greater success on Facebook? Facebook algorithms make it difficult for spammers to thrive on its platform with several strategies.
First of all, spammers have difficulty making profiles that both seem legitimate to Facebook and are good enough to attract friends. If spammers try to take the route of making profiles and then getting friends, the easiest strategy would be posing as celebrities. However, Facebook blocks against that. As a result, the only way to implement this method would be to use scripts to make profiles and include profile pictures and related information to make the account seem interesting enough for other people to want to friend.
If they get past that first barrier, spammers run into the difficulty of expanding from the initial wave of friend acceptances. As we’ve seen from Tiger Compliments (formerly Pton Compliments), if a profile sends a large number of requests within a short period of time, Facebook algorithms restrict the friending to only allow the profile to accept requests. By cutting off a spammer’s ability to explicitly solicit friend requests, this severely limits the spammer’s potential to gain more views.
Next, spammers run into difficulties while posting spam. If algorithms detect frequent posting by a profile, Facebook will force the user to solve captcha in order to continue posting. By requiring a user to solve these, Facebook significantly reduces the posting frequency by potential spammers, making the spammer’s scripts or copy/pasting more difficult. Of course, natural language processing software could help bypass this, but this is going a little far.
Let’s assume spammer profiles do end up capable of bypassing captchas. These posts generate such low like, share, and comment rates that algorithms don’t place these posts at the top of news feeds. If the spammer posts on people’s walls, then deleting would be prompt. Also, the “Report story or spam” option can be easily used.
As for spammers that use fake applications or videos to take control of accounts, Facebook and common sense both make success difficult. Unlike file sharing websites in which advertisers use fake download buttons to try to solicit clicks, users all know what the typical “like” and “comment” buttons look like. In addition, whether by past miscues or by observation of mistakes by friends, most know what fake videos and applications look like. Even if we don’t and fall prey to these, the “Report story or spam” button makes cleanup and damage control fairly simple. As a result, traditional spamming strategies do not work very well on Facebook, as many preventative measures have been taken to prevent such behavior. Only time will tell how spammers will get creative for future attacks.