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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!

fake facebook spam

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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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