Social Spam Plagues Social Networks

Despite ongoing efforts to address the problem, spam remains a thorn in the side of social leaders like Twitter and Facebook.

In fact, nearly 10% of all Twitter “users” who tweet in English are “non-consumers,” according to new findings from Networked Insights. Worse yet, these accounts are responsible for pumping out about 15% of all tweets, the analytics firm found.

The persistence of the problem is partly due to innovations on the part of spammers, says Jaime Brugueras, vice president of analytics at Networked Insights.

“Both the quantity and the quality of spam is improving, meaning that spam is harder for Twitter and other platforms to detect and filter,” Brugueras said on Monday.

Spanning the social landscape, marketers produce most of the spam that consumers come across. Indeed, coupons, product listings, contests and giveaways make up nearly 6% of all social spam, Networked Insights reports. (Technically speaking, “non-consumers” include social bots, celebrities, brand handles and inactive accounts.)

On social, some brand conversations are entirely driven by spam. For Rite Aid and beauty brand Elizabeth Arden, a staggering 95% of branded posts and conversations, including their names, are classified as spam, according to Networked Insights.

Other super spammy brands include Visa (81%), MasterCard (76%), beauty brand Ulta (75%), and American Eagle Outfitters (73%).

With consumer sensibilities in mind, social giants have been working to reduce the rate of spam and other unwanted content.

Last year, Twitter admitted that nearly 10% of its userbase were bots, which automatically ping the site with updates. Yet, at the time, the company estimated that false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its monthly active users.

Among other efforts to clean up its News Feed, Facebook recently took aim at spam, including scams -- “Click here to win a lifetime supply of coffee” -- and deliberately false or misleading news stories: “Man sees dinosaur on hike in Utah.”

Late last year, Instagram vowed to wipe out spammy fake accounts. As a result, some of the most popular brands on the network saw significant declines in their followings.


1 comment about "Social Spam Plagues Social Networks".
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  1. garrett perez from ASU, April 7, 2015 at 2:37 a.m.

    It's 2015 and spam is still a problem. How this is possible I really do not understand due to inefficiency of spam and the improvement of technology. First off, spam has almost never proven to be an effective marketing strategy. A majority of consumers admittedly hate spam. To prove it, one could simply ask ten of their friends if they enjoy or react well to spam messages. Most likely, nine if not ten out of ten of the friends will reply that they dislike spam messages and advertisement in some way. Yet somehow spam still seems to happen. One would think that advertisers and marketers would understand the negative correlation between spam marketing and consumer loyalty. However, this is obviously not the case. This should not be reason for spam to still exist though. As technology and computer programming have advanced, the ability to detect certain things has exploded. Many probably question why spam bots have not become a thing of the past. Their patterns are quite predictable, spam spam spam a message. These concerns are well founded. The technology NASA used to send some of the first men to the moon is now commonplace and less advanced than the average smartphone. The technology to stop the advance the march of spam, however, has not moved nearly as far it seems. More companies should follow the lead of Instagram and spend a significant time to focus and get rid of the majority of spam. Obviously, not all of the spam can be taken care of. There will always be someone trying a new way to spam. The volume of spam though is something that should be addressed and taken care of.

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