Social Media Spam Increasing, 20% on Brand Accounts
No matter how you slice it, spam sucks: it’s annoying for Internet users, while for marketers it threatens to decrease the effectiveness of email and social media as channels for legitimate marketing messages. Unfortunately there’s only going to be more of it on social media, according to the “2013 State of Social Media Spam Report” from Nexgate.
Just in the first half of 2013, the volume of social media spam has increased an alarming 355% for the average social media user, Nexgate found, and for every seven new social media accounts created, five new spammers are detected. More spammers are found on Facebook and YouTube than any other social site by a margin of 100 to 1, and Facebook experiences over four times the number of phishing attacks and spam using personally identifiable information that other networks experience.
The increase in spam is due in part to bots and fake accounts, as well as applications created to churn out and activate unwanted marketing messages; Nexgate calculates that around 5% of all social apps are “spammy.” Other new methods include “Like-jacking,” where something that looks like a simple “Like” button actually downloads malware or takes the user to an unwanted destination.
In addition to all its other negative attributes, spam can be plain offensive: according to Nexgate one out of 21 social media messages contains “risky” content which can include adult language or hate speech. Worse still, one out 200 social messages also contains malware or a URL that directs the user to a dangerous destination. Meanwhile a large volume of social media spam succeeds in eluding spam blockers: just 15% of social media messages contain a URL that spam blockers detect as “spammy.”
Perhaps most alarming, Nexgate found that 20% of all “spammy” apps were on brand-owned social media accounts, with all the attendant risks of damage to the brands themselves. Nexgate issued this sobering warning about the risks of spam for legitimate brand advertisers: “The impact of social media spam is already significant -- it can damage brand appearance and turn fans and followers into foes. To make matters worse, a spammy social message isn’t just seen by one recipient, but by potentially all of the brand’s followers and all of the recipients’ friends. Social spam transforms one of the greatest assets of social media marketing –- it’s multi-dimensional nature –- against the brand.”
Of course spam exists for a reason -- namely, because it makes money. Nexgate estimates that Facebook spam has generated $200 million for unethical types this year.