Social Media spam is on rise and is a real challenge to online brands. Number of spams over social networks has increased by mammoth 355% in first half of 2013. Each day we come across overflow of illegitimate flow of communication across Social Media sites and emails. Social Media marketing ROI will be hindered largely by spam and will turn fans and followers into foes. A spammy message on Online brand page isn’t viewed just by one recipient but also his/her friends and brand followers leading to total deterioration of brand name.
A social media security and compliance solution provider Nexgate had conducted research by monitoring more than 60 million unique social posts and comments of 25 million Social media user accounts. Some of the Key findings of the report, conducted in first half of 2013, are:-
- 1 in 21 social media messages across Facebook Inc.(NASDAQ:FB), Twitter, YouTube, Google+ contain risky content, such as adult language, private or regulated data or spam.
- Spammy apps, social bots and fake accounts are among the most widely used methods of distribution of social media spam.
- Nearly, 5% of social apps are classified as spammy and 15% of all spam contains a URL.
- Spammers often spam to at least 23 different social media accounts.
- 15% of all Social spam contains a URL to spammy content, pornography or malware.
Facebook and YouTube are favorites amongst spammers
- Ratio of spam on Facebook and YouTube compared to other Social media sites is 100:1. The rate of spam in growing faster than rate of comments on branded Social media accounts.
- Facebook contains highest number of phishing attacks and personally identifiable information.
- YouTube contains highest number of risky content. For every 1 piece of risky content on other social media networks, there are 5 pieces of risky content on YouTube.
- As expected from above results more number of spammers are found on Facebook and YouTube.
Online brands must be extremely careful in monitoring their brand pages and must take measures in order to eliminate spam messages. The report also consists latest automation technique which will moderate spam messages on social media webpage.
Types of Spams
There are numerous types of Social spams floating across various Social media sites. Few well known amongst them are :-
This type of spam message encourages/threatens the recipient to spread the message to multiple users (example: $1 is given for cancer research for every share or like) in his network.
Text spam may also be used as a phishing attack where recipient is asked to verify their account using their credentials. These phishing attacks allow spammers to gather personal information from victims, which may be useful to access their bank accounts.
This type of spam generally contains single link with no surrounding text. Curious user might click the link which would direct him to spammer’s website that might contain ads which will generate revenue for spammer and also help in Spamdexing. Spamdexing is deceptive technique that increases website’s rank in search result. To persuade the user there might be a short phrase accompanied along with the link promising easy money, pills, porn etc.
A new form of spam exists on social media networks which results in downloading an app. Once these apps are downloaded phishing attacks can proceed ahead to exploit the victim. Majority of spammy apps are of type Timeline stalkers, Profile Peekers, change your color, FREE Gift cards etc.
Using latest technology it’s possible to detect spammy apps. Nearly 20% of spammy apps are found on brand owned Social media accounts. Couple of other spams such as Like-Jacking, Social bots, Fake accounts are also prevailing in Social media networking sites.
There are claims that Social media spammers may never get caught. This arguement seems valid as majority of Social networking sites aren’t doing much to prevent such disaster. Twitter has hired 2 ‘’spam science programmers’’ out of their staff of 750 in order to fight spam. Facebook Team has also taken couple of initiatives by partnering with ‘’web of trust’’ and other organization, but it doesn’t seem good enough to eradicate spam as Facebook hosts 4 times more spam than any other Social media sites.
It is very important for all Social media networking sites to undertake measures to prevent spams. It is estimated that more than $7 Billion would be invested in Social media marketing in 2013 and if brand pages are not free from spams, its likely to have adverse effect towards ad revenue. Online brands should continuously monitor their web pages and also make use of latest technologies to prevent such hazard as it would seriously affect their brand image.