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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

Reels: Why Instagram can’t compete with TikTok… yet?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The future for Instagram Reels is uncertain, since even Instagram has acknowledge that TikTok is far ahead of them, but what does it mean for their future?

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Phone camera on stand in foreground with two women filming for TikTok or Instagram reels in the background

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve scoffed at Instagram’s attempt to compete with the hype. Yes, I’m referring to the Reels feature.

In an attempt to step in and absorb all the TikTok user run-off in August, when Trump announced the TikTok ban, Instagram launched Reels. Short, catchy and sharable clips, Reels are almost exactly like TikTok videos – but are they catching on?

In an interview with The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that he isn’t yet happy with Reels, stating that TikTok is still “way ahead”. While Reels is growing in terms of shared content and consumed content, it’s not nearly where Instagram hoped it would be by this point. Perhaps this is because TikTok is still alive and well. Or perhaps there’s something else to it.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular Reels on Instagram are simply reposted TikToks. This poses the question: Is Instagram’s Reels simply a channel where the ‘cream of the crop’ TikTok videos can get posted in a second location and exposed to a new audience, or is it actually a platform for creators?

Mosseri also hints at some sort of consolidation across Instagram’s video features (i.e., IGTV, in-post videos, Reels). Without being entirely sure what that will look like, I’m already skeptical – is this all just another example of Facebook (via Instagram) trying to hold a monopoly on the social media sphere?

My opinion? As long as TikTok is still in operation, it will reign supreme. While the two apps have a ton of overlap, they are simply different cultural spaces. TikTok is a trend-heavy, meta-humor creative space that relies on engagement between users through effect, duets, and other TikTok-exclusive features.

Adversely, Reels is a space for Instagramming millennials and Gen Xers who might be choosing to opt out of TikTok (which has sort of become the cultural epicenter for the younger Gen Zers). The feature might also be used by Insta influencers and creators of all ages who toggle between the two apps (i.e., reposting your viral TikTok on Instagram to gain more traction).

Whatever the reason is for engaging in Reels, I’m fully certain the feature will never amount to the success of TikTok – but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Instagram has in store for us next.

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One easy way to organize your influencers inbox, get paid for fan DMs

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Superpage is a contact page for influencers that also allows users with a fanbase to charge fans money for guaranteed attention on their message.

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Demo page of Superpage, a contact page for influencers that lets you filter DMs across social media platforms.

At times, our inboxes can get out of control. Besides email from our family and friends, marketing and spam emails wind up in there, too. While for some of us, it isn’t too bad to handle. Some people might find it a little harder to manage because of the great influx of messages they receive. And, some of those people are influencers.

Well, that is one company’s target – if you have a fanbase, you have an influence. Superpage is a “contact page for influencers.” According to the company’s website, their product will help influencers declutter their inboxes and offer them a better communication setup.

“DMs & e-mails were built for generic human communication. With huge follower-base & more people seeking their time, influencers need a slightly different communication setup – designed just for them. That’s what we’re building at Superpage – a communication system uniquely crafted for influencers,” wrote Superpage Founder Srivatsa Mudumby.

Who can get Superpage?
Superpage is meant for influencers, creators, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and just about anyone with a social media presence.

What does it do?
The platform allows fans to directly connect with influencers by letting them send a message through the influencer’s Superpage. So, instead of hoping to receive a reply from the DM they sent on Instagram or TikTok, Superpage guarantees a reply, as long as it isn’t illicit or spammy of course.

But, while Superpage lets fans communicate with their idol, it doesn’t do so for free. Fans “pay what they want” to send a message. However, the website doesn’t make it clear whether what you pay makes a difference. If someone pays more, will their message get prioritized? I doubt a $10 ticket gave anyone the chance to choose between general admission or VIP.

How does it work?
You sign up and set up your personalized page by adding a bio, display picture, cover photo, topics you’d like to discuss, etc. Once you link your bank account to your Superpage account, you can share your page on social media, website, or blog post. Through your unique “Superpage link” anyone can send you “Super texts” (messages).

In your Dashboard, you can view, manage, and reply to your messages. Superpage uses “restricted messaging”, which means each sender receives a limited number of messages to follow-up. Once you’re finished replying, the conversation will automatically close.

Fees and Payments
There is no monthly fee to use Superpage. The company makes money by charging a 5% commission plus credit card fees. And, it uses Stripe to process payments directly to the influencer’s bank account.

“People want to talk to influencers of the world but because of huge volume of messages & poor incentivization, influencers can never respond to everyone mindfully. We spoke to a ton of influencers and almost everyone complained “my inboxes are spammed,” wrote Mudumby.

Superpage does provide a new way for fans to reach out to their idols, but is it more like a way for them to charge for office hours? One thing is for sure, it’s a way for influencers to reach out to fans, but make money in the process, too. It’s up to you to decide if it’s something you’d put your money into.

As for a decluttered inbox, it does seem like all those emails and messages might not end up in your messy inbox. Instead, they will live on the platform’s dashboard in a, hopefully, more organized manner.

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If you’re not on Clubhouse, you’re missing out – here’s why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) What exactly is Clubhouse, and why is it the quarantine app sensation? There’s a few reasons you should definitely be checking out right now!

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Clubhouse member hanging out on the app, on a couch with mask on their face.

The new exclusive app Clubhouse is challenging what social media can be – and it might possibly be the best thing to blow up during quarantine.

Developed by ex-Google employee Rohan Seth and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison, Clubhouse has only been gaining in popularity since lockdown. Here’s why you need to join immediately:

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is like if subreddit pages were live podcasts. Or maybe if niche, topic-centric Zoom chatrooms could connect you with people from all over the world. But it’s ONLY audio, making it perfect for this period of lockdown where no one truly looks their best.

From networking events to heated debates about arts and culture to book clubs, you can truly find anything you want on Clubhouse. And if you don’t see a room that peaks your interest, you can make one yourself.

Why is it special?

Here’s my hot take: Clubhouse is democratizing the podcast process. When you enter a room for women entrepreneurs in [insert your industry], you not only hear from the established experts, but you’ll also have a chance to listen to up-and-coming users with great questions. And, if you want, you can request to speak as well.

If you click anyone’s icon, you can see their bio and links to their Instagram, Twitter, etc. For professionals looking to network in a deeper way, Clubhouse is making it easier to find up and coming creatives.

If you’re not necessarily looking to network, there’s still so much niche material to discover on the app. Recently, I spent an hour on Clubhouse listening to users discuss the differences in American and British street fashion. It got heated, but I learned A LOT.

The celebrities!

Did I mention there’s a TON of celebrities on the app? Tiffany Haddish, Virgil Abloh, and Lakeith Stanfield are regulars in rooms – and often host scheduled events. The proximity to all kinds of people, including the famous, is definitely a huge draw.

How do you get on?

Anyone with an iPhone can make an account, but as of now you need to be “nominated” by someone in your contacts who is already on the app. Think Google+ but cooler.

With lockdown giving us so much free time that our podcasts and shows can’t keep up with the demand, Clubhouse is a self-sustaining content mecca. Rooms often go on for days, as users in later time zones will pick up where others left off when they need to get some sleep. And the cycle continues.

Though I’m still wrapping my brain around it, I can say with fair certainty that Clubhouse is very, very exciting. If you have an hour (or 24) to spare, try it out for yourself – I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

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