Monday, 22 March 2010

Social Media and Spam

By Toivo Mvula

With many organisations jumping on the social media bandwagon, it will not be a surprise if social media lose its appeal sooner than anticipated.
Social networking sites, such as MyspaceTwitter and Facebook are increasingly being used by organisations to forward promotional messages to users, which can be quite annoying.

This is especially true with Facebook, which has an email/message component to it.
Logging onto your Facebook account and being greeted by a long list of messages from non-friends can be quite annoying.


This is why email services have lost their popularity.
And social networking sites could be in danger of being destroyed by it.

With Twitter and RSS feeds for example, if you subscribe to a specific feed, spammers can easily tamper with those feeds to link you to sites that have nothing to do with the feeds you’re interested in.

You can now also find companies offering to hire tweeters to 'blast your link, ad or announcement to 100s of thousands of Twitter followers in an instant'.
We also have celebrities being paid to tweet about products.
That can definitely be regarded as spam.

Spam is already a problem with mobile phones and it is also becoming a problem in blogs.
If you log onto any popular blog, you’re likely to find a number of irrelevant comments with hyperlinks to promotional websites.


  1. I agree with you about the horrible of receiving information and e-mails about organizations and people that you are not familiar with them, but this also happens with your daily post.

    I am sure that you receive some letters of organizations that you have not idea about them that they offer you their services, and they have your personal data. For example: last week I received a letter about a company that I have not seen in my life offering me one product, and they sent me the letter with all my personal data here in Scotland, I was very surprised because how do they have my personal data?

    I think that the spam is very difficult to control, because the companies can have access to your data in an easy way.

  2. I have to agree with you there Toivo and Maria. I have received spam or junk mail from numerous companies (some bogus too) via mobile phone, the good old fashioned plug-in-the-wall telephone, internet and snail mail. It is time wasting and I don't see the logic in it at all. I feel they are trying to exploit the vulnerable and therefore the practice is highly unethical.

    When I see reputable companies constantly sending me updates through Facebook or Twitter, it makes me think why they feel the need to fill up our inboxes with sometimes irrelevant information. Is it just a tool to be seen to be using social media or do they really think that this bombardment of information will really help relationships with their stakeholders and audiences? Time will tell...

  3. Interesting angle, Toivo! Spam really is annoying. I have to agree the amount of spam sent via emails is huge. However personally I have not received any spam on Twitter and Facebook. Indead Twitter makes suggestions on who to follow but no spam so far. As regards Facebook, you mentioned its email component. The thing is you can only send emails/messages to you Facebook friends. This means a company has to first become your friend in order to send you spam email. Am I wrong? At the end of the day you are the one accepting and declining friendships. On the other hand, maybe Facebook in Romania is not so much used in commercial purposes and this is why I have not received any spam so far. We do have ads but I am not sure they are effective. They are found in the right side of the screen but I take them for granted and never check them out. They are similar to banners on websites:)

  4. Hello Everyone.
    I agree with what everyone is saying, and Toivo, Spam is indeed annoying. But I don't think receiving emails or texts is considered to be social media. That's purely a marketing tactic, seen as e-mail marketing or SMS marketing. Which is sitll annoying..dont get me wrong.
    If I'm not mistaken, sometimes companies actually BUY a certain amount of random e-mails which they then have access to our accounts. What they need to realise, is that, it is a waste of money, since most of the times, when you see an email you havent subscribed to, you are most likely to delete it. The other day, I got a tweet from a tourist agency saying that they have cheap deals to Cyprus for Easter. Although I already have my ticket booked, I still went and took a look. (And I can assure you this rarely happens). My point is, if you might be interested in that "spam" message you MIGHT even take a look. But it's unlikely.

    [And may I just say, all their deals were to what they call "Northern Cyprus" !! I am from Cyprus, but unfortunately, if they had done their research properly, they would have known that people living in the South part of Cyprus, don't really like to be reminded of that! anyway....]

    I agree with Ralu that I havent received any unwanted messages or junk messages (spam) on Facebook either, but people can still receive junk messages in social networking sites, from common fan pages or groups.

    Also, Ralu, on Facebook,companies or other random people may still message you on Facebook, but it all depends on your privacy settings. For instance, you can choose to have a setting of not allowing anyone send you a message, except your friend.

    As for blogspam, I'm pretty sure you can control that by YOU (the user) being able to view the comment and if it's relevant you may then "make it visible"!

    But spam is spam, and spam is annoying! =)


  5. @sophia this means our privacy settings are working properly:)