Despite the advances in web technology over the past few decades, one of the challenges that users continue to face is spam. A research report published by Microsoft Research back in 2004 showed that the presence of webspam on the internet can be identified through statistical analysis. While studies as this have played an important role in identifying and filtering spam, the growth of such websites and pages continue unabated. Experts like GW attribute this growth to the deficiency in technology that govern the identification and filtering out of such pages. Cheap link building tactics aimed at sprucing up the PageRank of a website are often a major cause for link spam online.
Over the past year, Google has deployed a couple of major algorithmic updates aimed at curtailing this practice. Dubbed the ‘Penguin’, the update was aimed at spammy link and content marketing tactics that has been seen as a major reason for webspam. Given these important changes, the spate of link spam was expected to come down. However, according to Social Media security firm NexGate, the overall level of spam on the internet has continued to rise thanks to its increase in other platforms like social media. In a first of its kind report on social media spam, NexGate reports a 355% increase in what they call ‘social spam’ during the first half of this year. Here are some really interesting takeaways from their report:
|Social media apps that are spammy||5%|
|Spammy social media apps that are brand-owned||20% (that is||1% overall)|
|Average number of social profiles contacted by a spamming account||23|
|Number of new spam accounts created||5 out of every 7 new accounts|
|Most popular social platforms for spammers||Facebook & YouTube|
|Percentage of spam posts that contain a URL||15%|
|Overall number of spammy social media messages||1 out of every 200|
As anybody who frequents websites like Facebook and YouTube may know, the spam on these websites are extremely higher than what may be noticed on other social media websites. NexGate estimates this number to be 100 times more than other social networks. Consequent to this, the number of phishing attacks on Facebook are also higher than any other network – by a factor of 4. Given that a huge percentage of spam are scams aimed at fooling people into divulging their confidential information, the financial repercussions of social media spam are huge. Some estimates point at a revenue loss of close to $200 million just from Facebook.
Given the rise in prominence of social networks like Instagram and Pinterest, it is to be seen how these various companies huddle up with the likes of Facebook to find a way to root out spam from the social media space.