Since Facebook’s depute in 2004, the social networking site has faced countless complaints, errors, and controversies. One of the main concerns many users have, as well as businesses, is the spam and viruses that spread across this site. This content is not only obnoxious, but can also severely damage an individual’s computer, or worse, steal his or her personal information.
Spam and viruses can be spread a variety of ways on the internet, but spammers usually spread content with these three techniques. One of the most popular ways malicious information is spread is by phishing. This “involves using fake messages to direct users to sites for knockoff products or to pages that can turn a computer into an automation that floods friends with spam,” which both annoys users and can have detrimental effects. These spammers also use various tricks on users, which fools individuals into downloading malware. Once downloaded, the user’s account sends out messages to his or her friend’s which also tricks them into downloading the same software, infecting his or her friends’ computers and continuing the cycle. Spam and viruses are also spread by “likejacking,” This technique spreads information by tricking users to like certain pages. Once the individual “likes” the page, “the content shows up on his or her home page and can also appear on a friends’ news feed;” infecting the computer and those who are unfortunate enough to click the link. Regardless of how spammers infect or pester the Facebook community, these people do this for monetary gain. These individuals get paid for each click he or she is able to send to a certain website or ad, making this problem increasingly more complex and more difficult to vanquish.
In order to combat this issue, Facebook has put in place both malware and spam detection systems across the site to help reduce the general amount and spread of spam and viruses on the social networking site. The systems are constantly looking for suspicious activity all over the Facebook network; such activity can include a user sending 50 or more messages to people who are not his or her friend or if 75% of all friend requests sent out by a user are being ignored. Once this kind of behavior is detected and investigated, security software goes in and fixes the problem, much like how a personal computer’s security software works. Facebook also recommends several security tips, such as selecting a strong password, regularly running anti-virus software on one’s own personal computer and adding a security question to the account, in order to keep one’s account secure. According to Facebook, because of their systems and security tips, less than 1% of all users in the Facebook community are affected by spam or viruses on the site.
Click to check out stories of personal accounts of Facebook spamming.
For your enjoyment, Aaron Woodall pokes some fun at the Facebook Security Team: