Like death and taxes, spam
is one of life’s inevitabilities. From junk emails to fake
pharmaceutical advertisements to bogus comments on websites like this
one, spam is a very real (if aggravating) part of online life.
emerges as the communications platform of choice for a growing number of
individuals and brands, the spam problem — both from other users and
from applications — becomes a more pressing concern.
Facebook is doing a lot to help curb app-generated spam, with platform spam down 95% in 2010, but no automated system is perfect — especially when the platform is as large as Facebook.
Here are some tips to reduce the amount of spam that you see on Facebook — and avoid contributing to the problem yourself.
Be Aware of Facebook Link Scams (Experts Can Get Fooled Too)
We cover many of the most prevalent Facebook scams as they take place across the web — and many are easy to spot.
These wall attacks almost frequently lead users to agree to install a
Facebook application that requires that a user authorize the ability to
post to walls and friend pages.
Sometimes the scams are easy to detect — “OMG Click here to watch
this video, you can’t miss it” or something else that is baiting. Other
times, however, the scams can replicate promotions or apps that really
A few things to keep in mind about these types of spam app attacks:
- Beware of short links that accompany text on your wall from people who don’t normally post links.
- Investigate or research any app that seems too good to be true before agreeing to install it.
- Pay attention to what apps you authorize to post to your wall.
If you do fall victim to one of these app spam attacks, be sure to follow Jolie’s instructions in the Southwest post:
- Visit your Facebook privacy settings and click on the bottom section that says “Apps and Websites.”
- You will see a listing of the most recently accessed apps from
your account, select the offending app and remove it from your account.
- Delete any messages posted by the app on your behalf and notify any friends that might have been spammed.
Also keep an eye out for popular scams and waves of attacks.
Moderate Spam Comments on Pages
Facebook has automatic spam filters that gray out comments on the Page wall that Facebook thinks contain spam.
These filters work pretty well, but it’s worth checking out your Page every so often to make sure genuine comments aren’t incorrectly marked as spam.
Likewise, posts that are not spam can be marked as spam when you run
across them. Wall posts can be flagged as spam and the accounts, if you
believe they are fraudulent, should be reported to Facebook.
SocialFresh provided a good overview of some options for page administrators in cutting down on spam.
Some of the highlights include altering settings so that the default
wall view is “Only Post by Page” and preventing users from posting links
in their wall posts. Because a lot of spam contains links, preventing
links can also keep the spam at bay.
Be Aware of What Information You Provide Apps
Not all Facebook spam comes by way of rogue apps that send messages
out on your behalf. Now that Facebook allows apps to access your email
and send you messages, it’s possible that apps that appear to be legit
can still grab your email for annoyances later.
A good rule of thumb when using apps is to investigate the settings.
If an app seems to require an inordinate amount of access to your
profile and the brand or app maker isn’t well known, then the best
practice is simply to avoid using the app.
Use a Clickjack-Revealing Bookmarklet
Aside from rogue applications that try to trick users into spamming
their friends, another popular Facebook spam method is known as clickjacking. Clickjacking, sometimes called likejacking,
happens when a user clicks on a link and is taken to a page with a
hidden Like button. Clicking anywhere on the page will “like” the post
and publish it to your news feed. Friends see this and investigate the
link, unwittingly propagating the spam.
We’ve seen this time and time again over the last ten or eleven months. Just last week, Charlie Sheen’s newfound “popularity” was used to perpetuate a clickjacking attack.
How do you combat spam on our Facebook profile or fan page? Let us know in the comments.