Will Facebook’s New Anti-Spam Measures Put an End to Scams?

Typical like-farming scam

Last week, Facebook announced a series of improvements to reduce the number of spammy posts that showed up in users’ News Feed. We’ve talked to a couple of experts to find out what they think about the new measures.

With the improvements, Facebook is targeting three types of posts: “like-baiting,” in which the poster asks readers to like, comment or share the post; frequently circulated content; and spammy links.

Like-baiting has become increasingly common on Facebook. We’ve covered a lot of scams in which users are promised cars, vacations and other prizes if they like pages and share posts. The scammers are trying to harvest as many likes as possible to increase the value of their pages, which they can sell on the underground market or repurpose for other schemes.

As far as frequently circulated content is concerned, Facebook is “de-emphasizing” pages that publish frequently circulated content.

In an effort to reduce spammy links, ones used to trick users into visiting websites containing ads (and even malicious sites) by promising interesting content, the social media platform has started measuring how many likes and shares the original posts get. If they don’t get many likes and shares, it most likely means that it’s spam.

So what do experts believe about Facebook’s new anti-spam measure? Hoax Slayer’s Brett M. Christensen, who has been writing advisories about Facebook scams and hoaxes for a long time, says that the measures taken by the company should be efficient when it comes to putting an end to like-farming schemes.

“Facebook’s new rules should certainly go a long way towards stopping like-farming scams. A typical like-farming scam fits into at least two and possibly all three of Facebook’s new feed spam categories, so hopefully we will see a lot less of this type of scam messages on the network in coming months,” Christensen told Softpedia via email.

The expert says that the scammers could switch to a new tactic and carry on with their operations. However, he believes that these changes are at least a step in the right direction.

Security expert Graham Cluley, who has also published numerous alerts on Facebook scams, refrains from making assumptions, but he doesn’t appear too convinced that the new systems will work.

“Hard to say what impact this will have. In the past, Facebook has sometimes introduced systems to defeat (for instance) clickjacking scams only for them to completely fail to have any impact,” Cluley told us.

“We’ll have to see whether this has any positive impact on spam messages spread via Facebook, and whether it adversely affects those who are using Facebook for legitimate innocent purposes.”

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