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Spot a Facebook spammer before letting them in a Group

Sometimes it’s obvious that someone is trying to join your group or friend you to spam, but these days, spammers are tricky, so here are some tips for spotting them so you don’t have to waste time researching them!

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Spotting a Facebook spammer with little effort

So you have a Facebook Group and you’re building your inner circle. You may have 100 people in the group or 10,000, but as a Group administrator, you’re responsible for keeping the group free of spammers not only because all Group updates go to each member’s notification bar (which can get noisy), but because a spammer may infiltrate your group and post a link to Nikes for sale, but uh oh, those aren’t Nikes, that’s a phishing scam and your Group members’ computers/smartphones are now infected. Yikes.

It’s not always that dramatic, sometimes it’s just noise, but without having to do tons of research or getting a B.A. in Spam Spotting, here are some tips for spotting the bad guys in a crowd.

12 tips for spotting a spammer

Remember that these are simply tips, and some of these are true for legitimate accounts, so use your best judgment before not allowing people in or kicking them out:

1. If someone is underage or super hot and their profile picture or cover photo is of a celebrity, they’re probably spam.

2. If you go to their page and they have five followers but have joined 500 groups, they’re probably spam.

3. If their profile and all visible updates are in a language you don’t understand, but they’re trying to join your Neurological Professionals’ Association group, they’re probably spam.

4. If their job title doesn’t match their photo, and they’re a 18 year old stating they’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, they’re probably spam.

5. If they don’t have any friends in common with you and it doesn’t say they have any friends in the group, that sends up a red flag. That’s not a guarantee of spam, of course, but requires paying closer attention.

6. If someone’s cover photo is about weight loss pills or something you wouldn’t want sold in your group, to you, they’re probably spam.

7. If it is a woman whose profile is visible enough to see that she prefers both men and women, but there’s no professional information listed, they’re probably spam.

8. If they say they went to “the Universty of Arkansaw,” they’re either stupid or spam. Mispelled school names are often a tip-off that they’re probably spam.

9. If someone is too hot to be alive and/or is wearing a bikini, they’re probably spam. Not always, but probably.

10. If they’re brand new to Facebook, but they’ve managed to find your obscure group or Page, they’re probably spam.

11. If you can see their status updates and they’re all links to fake Oakleys or “real” Louis Vuitahn bags, they’re probably spam.

12. If their name is ridiculous like Jiant Johnson, they might be spam.

Dig deep? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat

Some will tell you to dig deep, but if your group is gaining in popularity, you may not have hours a day to research (I mean really, who has time to search Google Images for a profile picture to see if it is a commonly stolen image of a stock photo or foreign model? Nobody).

If someone posts a link that is obviously spam, we recommend a heavy handed approach – on the upper right of their post is a tiny grey arrow, so click it and remove the post while banning the user. Add to the “About” page what your policies are so there is no confusion or complaining.

Commit these 11 tips to memory and learn from years of our learning the hard way what may or may not be spam. With that you’ll keep members of your group in tact and they won’t jump ship because you allowed spam in the group.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Bruce

    February 14, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I have no problem spotting spammer profiles before they can spam my groups. My question is: what report category do I use to report them to fb so they can shut them down? I’ve tried reporting them as representing a business or as a fake account but apparently fb can’t spot them as well as I can even when I drop them in their lap! All but 1of the last 10 or so that I have reported have come back as “Profile not removed”.

    Facebook “help” is completely useless when it comes to this. I’m not about to admit them to my groups, wait until they post their sunglasses spam, and THEN report them!

    Surely there is some software code that could be written to look for the common characteristics that these profiles have.

    And/or, request the help of the group Admin people all over the globe! Help us to help fb get rid of them. We’re doing the work to identify them anyway! Gives us a proper code to identify them and save us work in the future.

    … Bruce

  2. Greg Bard

    July 10, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    If they have signed up for only 10 groups that are all alphabetically sequential to your group, then the are pretty much definitely spam.

    • Lani Rosales

      July 12, 2015 at 11:33 am

      GREAT point, Greg. And we're finding that they put the appropriate city in their profile as they sign up for groups in that city, then ultimately move on to the next city in the alphabet (as does their profile info). Blech.

  3. Sarah

    July 14, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I have a pressure cooker recipe group I started, and a member is telling me that some relevant posts are spam? How are they spam if they are just recipes, and not selling anything, but maybe promoting their blog?

  4. Pingback: Facebook promises to actively fight harder against spam - The American Genius

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Social Media

New Reddit policy on impersonation mimics other social media giants

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Reddit is the latest social media company to change their policy to protect against deepfake impersonation, because of the harm they can cause.

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impersonation with deepfakes

Reddit is the latest social media company making updates to their rules and policies ahead of the 2020 election. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and now Reddit are all trying to make the social internet a safer place to receive information.

Reddit’s new policy officially bans impersonation with the goal of handling “bad actors who are trying to manipulate Reddit, particularly are issues of great public significance, like elections.”

Deepfakes have become a key topic of conversation the last few years. In the wake of the mass spreading of misinformation during the 2016 presidential election, users have grown wearier than ever of the information they see online. Deepfakes are no longer a niche subject, but an everyday pain point that technology companies are scrambling to control.

In a statement made on r/redditsecurity, Reddit informed users of the change to website policy stating, “Reddit does not allow content that impersonates individuals or entities in a misleading or deceptive manner. This not only includes using a Reddit account to impersonate someone, but also encompasses things such as domains that mimic others, as well as deepfakes or other manipulated content presented to mislead, or falsely attributed to an individual or entity.”

The platform isn’t trying to make a mass change to it’s often humor driven culture. Parody and satire are still allowed forms of impersonation so long as the joke is obvious. Reddit has vowed to always take context into account when looking at cases of user impersonation.

It’s a good sign for society when popular social platforms start taking their role in controlling the spread of false information seriously. Companies like Reddit are in a position to create real change in the way we spread and consume information about major global events.

What’s unclear is how much man power these companies are putting behind their policies. Reddit ends their statement by pointing users to a report form that users can submit if they or someone else is the victim of impersonation. The question users should be asking is how long would it take to get a response or see action on these reports?

Policy changes are great, but if companies are simply throwing them onto their fine print with no resources behind enforcement then it’s not social change, it’s just legal jargon to protect their ass.

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Social Media

Image size is a vital factor into usability of your brand

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Keep all of your social media profiles and products looking their best with the social media image size cheat sheet for 2020.

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image size matters

We can safely say that the one thing social media will assuredly do in 2020 is only get more powerful. As such, it’s important to keep up with the sizing information for social media images to keep all of your profiles looking fresh. Make A Website Hub has the official rundown in their annual Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet.
Twitter:
• Profile Photo: 400 x 400 pixels / Displays at 200 x 200 pixels (a maximum 100 KB file size)
• Header Photo: 1500 x 500 pixels (a maximum 10 MB file size)
• In-stream Photo: 440 x 220 pixels (a maximum 5 MB file size for photos and 3 MB file size for animated gifs)

Facebook:
• Cover Photo: 820 x 310 pixels (a preferred maximum file size of 100 KB)
• Profile Picture: 180 x 180 pixels
• Shared Image: 1200 x 630 pixels
• Shared Link: 1200 x 627
• Event Image: 1920 x 1080 px (Shows in feed: 470 × 174 pixels)
• Highlighted Image: 1200 x 717 pixels (appears on profile at 843 x 504 pixels)

Google+:
• Profile Image: 250 x 250 pixels
• Cover Picture: 1080 x 608 pixels
• Shared Image: 497 x 373 pixels

Instagram:
• Profile Picture: 110 x 110 pixels
• Photo Size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
• Video to Stories: 750 x 1334 pixels
• Photo Thumbnails: 161 x 161 pixels

Pinterest:
• Profile Picture: 165 x 165 pixels
• Board Display Image: 222 x 150 pixels
• Pin Sizes: a width of 238 pixels (with scaled height)

Tumblr:
• Profile Image: 128 x 128 pixels
• Image Posts: 500 x 750 pixels

YouTube:
• Channel Cover Picture: 2560 x 1440 pixels (for desktop), 1855 x 423 pixels (for tablets), 1546 x 423 pixels (for smartphones), and 2560 x 1440 pixels (for TV)
• Video Uploads: 1280 x 760 pixels

LinkedIn:
• Personal Page
o Personal Background image: 1584 x 396px
o Standard Logo: 400 x 400 pixels
o Profile image: 400 x 400 pixels
• Company/Brand Page
o Background image: 1536 x 768px
o Standard Logo: 400 x 400px
o Business / Career Cover Picture: 974 x 330 pixels
o Square Logo: 60 x 60px
o Business Banner Image: 646 x 220 pixels
o Standard Logo: 400 x 400px

Ello:
• Banner image: 2560 x 1440 pixels
• Profile image:360 x 360 pixels

WeChat:
• Profile Photo: 200 x 200 pixels
• Article Preview Header: 900 x 500 pixels
• Article Preview Thumbnail Image: 400 x 400 pixels (Displays at 200 x 200 pixels)
• Article Inline Image: 400 px x Any size px

Weibo:
• Cover Image: 920 x 300 px
• Profile Pictures: 200 x 200px (Displays at 100 x 100 px)
• Banner: 560 x 260 px
• Instream: 120 x 120 px
• Contest Preview: 640 x 640 px

Snapchat:
• Geofilter: 1080 x 1920

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Social Media

Facebook wants to show how “inclusive” it is with new logo

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook has a new logo, but you won’t see any change on the mobile app. The social network giant wants to expand to be more inclusive with this logo

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social network facebook typeface

Facebook has a new logo, but you won’t see any change on the mobile app. It’s easy to think of Facebook as just the social network where you avoid (or start) political debates with friends and family, but that’s just a piece of the picture. The new logo reflects Facebook’s ongoing expansion as a company beyond their original social network.

Facebook’s roots as a social networking company are undeniable. People have been using the platform to connect with family and friends across the globe since 2004. For many of us, Facebook is part of our everyday lives. It’s how we chat with friends across the globe, meet our partners, join communities, and sometimes it’s even part of our work life.

We have seen Facebook take on some big new projects this year including the announcement of Facebook Horizon, a social virtual reality world expected to launch in 2020. Facebook’s identity as a company now expands far beyond the Facebook app.

Facebook is the parent company of 74 companies including some equally popular and well-known apps such as Instagram and Whatsapp. The company operates out of 60 offices world-wide and employs over 43,000 people.

The new logo is part of an effort to create a clearer distinction between Facebook the parent company and Facebook the social network.

According to Facebook, “The new company branding is designed to help us better represent the diversity of products we build, establish a distinction from the Facebook app and communicate our purpose in the world.”

Facebook wordmark gif

The main design differences between the two logos are the font and the color. The corporate logo is designed in all caps using a font designed in-house. The type is san serif and open with consistent letter width throughout.

Unlike the true shade of blue that we all associate with the social network’s logo, the color of the new corporate logo will be fluid. The color will change depending on the environment such as the product it’s promoting. The corporate logo can be depicted as either solid colors or a gradient.
Facebook has been more than just a social network for a long time, now their logo can help them reflect that.

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