eBrandz Blog

Ways and means to deal with miscreants online

People with malicious intentions make use of legitimate third-party applications at times to more easily spread spam, to abuse social site users. Twitter and Facebook agree that they cannot eliminate spam, but are stepping up efforts to make it tougher to set up and manage fake profiles. When the sites are suspicious of an account, they might ask its owner for a reliable identity proof or to identify their recent friends.

The aim is to make sure a ‘real’ person and not a machine actually completes the credential test, thus pushing up the costs of spamming. Twitter reaffirms its commitment to help the developers contributing to its growing ecosystem, apart from having dedicated teams who work with the developer community. The site states that on noticing (or receiving user reports) of spam, it reaches out to users to try and rectify the situation. Sometimes, minor changes to a feature can make their service less appealing to spammers or hackers, sans affecting their legitimate users.

“If you are unable to control the abuse coming into the Twitter system, or are disingenuous in your attempts to make a more secure application, we may request specific feature changes. If you can’t, or are unwilling, to make feature adjustments to prevent abuse on Twitter, we reserve the right to ban your application from the Twitter ecosystem.”

The above note from Twitter underlines its resolve to prevent spam. Twitter reveals to have mostly experienced a heightened level of abuse emanating from features, like automated Following/ Unfollowing; recurring or scheduled Tweets; automated @replies and automated affiliate advertising. On its part, Facebook maintains that it relies on users to watch out for spam that can be a message including a link to a malicious site or a friend request from someone you don’t perhaps know.

It also underlines the fact that its spam prevention systems are solely intended at protecting users and maintaining a trusted social environment rather than infringing their privacy.

Guard against spam attacks

  • If you are noticing spam and some sort of abuse coming through an application, it is advisable to alert the sites whose Trust and Safety team can check for mass-created spam. The sites recommend people to develop features, which are not that attractive to prospective spammers.
  • While building an application, familiarize yourself with the relevant API terms of service, and their automation guidelines/ best Practices. By avoiding features that let users easily violate these guidelines, you can guard against abuse, or having your legitimate application users suspended for violations of these rules.
  • One way to guard against such attacks to quickly post a note onto your Facebook or Twitter account warning the friends to ignore such links because it sets off the social spam is difficult to stop. With help of expert, work out ways for uninstalling the malware from your Web browser or else it will cause further damage.
  • Using such information, Facebook and Twitter identify certain patterns of spam and other unacceptable behavior. For instance, if one happens to send the same message to several people not on one’s friend list in quick time, it’s perceived as spam. Similarly, if three fourth of the friend requests that a person sends get ignored, it’s assumed that he or she is suspiciously dealing with strangers.