It's embarrasing... you unknowingly post a spam link indicating you "Like" a link to a vulgar video or "LOL... is this you". In many cases these messages are posted to your wall without your knowledge and are automatically removed before you see them. Unfortunately, your friends saw them and many clicked, spreading the spam. There are simple steps you can take to prevent this. I found this article useful and well written.
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.
As Facebook 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 do exist.
Last month, a Mashable reporter fell victim to a Facebook scam purporting to be part of a Southwest Airlines promotion. The damage was limited and it was cleaned up quickly, but it’s a good reminder that even the best of us can fall for these things.
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. We cover these topics frequently on Mashableand the Sophos Naked Security blog is another great resource.
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.
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