7/24/09
7:52 am

MacMost Now 270: Fighting Social Network Spam

Spam isn't just for email inboxes any more. You can also get spam on your social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Learn how to cut down on the amount of junk you get. Find out what works and what doesn't.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. In today’s episode, let's talk about fighting social network spam. Remember when spam was just something you had to deal with in your email inbox? Well, now you have to deal with it at social media sites as well. Let's go and take a look specifically at Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and see how spammers get you and how you can prevent it and how you should not try to prevent it. Well, one of the things about these three websites is that you can select to receive email notifications when you get a message, so, for instance, your email inbox may be filled with messages that are from YouTube, from Facebook and from Twitter of new people following you, new people sending you messages, things like that. The thing not to do in those cases is to hit the spam button. You see, in all three of those cases, the email is coming directly from either Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Hitting the spam button is simply indicating that one of those three sites is a spammer, which isn't true. What you want to do is you want to get to the actual person doing the spamming. So, that means forgetting about what's in your email inbox and just deleting them, not hitting the spam button and going into one of your accounts and try to fight it. So, let's start with Facebook. So one of the main ways you can get spam from people you're not even following on Facebook, is by being part of some sort of a network or group. So, for instance, in your Facebook settings, there's a setting for networks. Under there, usually, you have your hometown, sometimes you have over networks that you have also joined. You may have actually joined dozens of these networks. That opens you up to getting actually invitations to events and things from other people on these networks. So, if you don't want to receive those sorts of bits of spam, you're going to have to leave all of those networks. Another thing that you can also look for is all the different groups, fan pages and apps that you have a part of your Facebook account. All those can potentially be sending you spam messages on Facebook. Now, a lot of them actually give you the option to get messages or not get messages, so you want to look through each one of them. But, typically, someone who gets a lot of spam on Facebook is also someone that's just part of tons of groups and has tons of apps, so you may want to go and look through that and see why these people are allowed to send you spam messages, because not anybody can just send a spam message to anybody else on Facebook, there has to be a reason that lets them in. Also, check your notifications settings. In the notifications settings, you can have it set to which emails you get from Facebook. So, for instance, you would want to get an email when a friend sends you a message, but you may not want to get a email when you're tagged in a photo set or when someone invites you to join a group. You may just want to save those for when you actually go on to Facebook to look. So, go and look through all of these, it can cut down the amount of spam that you get to your email inbox and at least keep that stuff over on Facebook, so it's only there when you're looking at Facebook.
So, on Twitter, technically, there's no spam, but, of course, there is. One of the main ways spammer get to you is they simply go and follow you. They follow you and thousands of other people. And you get that message, sometimes to your email inbox saying, you have a new follower. You go and check them out because you're curious and you find out of course it's just a spammer trying to sell something. So, one of the things you have to do is just learn to ignore the new people that are following you, or if you decide not to ignore them, realize that a lot of them are just going to be spammers and you just have to quickly ignore them. Now, no one can send you a direct message on Twitter without being someone that you're following. So, as long as you're following only the people that you know or trust, then you should never get spammed that way. But, somebody can reply to you, basically, put your Twitter ID in their message without your permission at all. And, if you're a person that likes to check up on what people are saying about you or to you on Twitter, you're eventually going to read those messages. There's nothing you can really do except ignore them. Now Twitter's been really great in finding these spam accounts and getting rid of them quickly, which is why there is not that much spam on Twitter, but it's definitely there. So, in your Twitter preferences under the notices section, you can decide whether or not you get email from someone who starts following you. Now, if you're getting a lot of spammers following you, you're getting email messages every time this happens. So, you may want to just turn that off.
Now, on YouTube, you can get messages two different ways. One is, you can get a direct message from another YouTube user, another is you can get a comment left on one of your videos if you're posting videos. Now, if you get a message in your inbox in YouTube, all you need to do is go to that message that you're going to read and you've got two options. One is to block that user so you never get messages from them again; the other is to mark it as spam. It's best to use "block user" if there's actually someone bugging you and "mark as spam" if it's a spammer who's probably only going to send that message once and if they send it again, it's going to be using a different YouTube ID. Also, if you get a comment that is spam, you have some choices there as well. You can go ahead and mark it as spam; again, you would do that for real spam where you doubt they'll use that user ID to send spam again. If it's an offensive comment, or there's some spammer that you think may be sending from the same address again, you can click "block user". You can also choose to just simply remove that comment if it's kind of borderline. Also on YouTube, under account settings and under email options, you can decide what email to get from YouTube. So, for instance, you can turn off when somebody subscribes to your channel, when somebody leaves a comment, that kind of thing. This can be very useful to get notifications when you get a comment, but also, if you're getting spammed a lot, this means your spam is going both to YouTube and to your email inbox. So, you may want to set these accordingly depending upon how much spam you are getting.
So, the bottom line is for these three services and for most other social networks, you don't want to actually report any email you get from them as spam, you simply want to delete it and then maybe adjust either your email settings at the social network site or figure out how that person was able to send you spam and close that door.
I'd love to have more suggestions of how you can stop spammers from getting to you through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and other social media networks. Please leave your ideas in comments at this post at MacMost.com. Till next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 3 Responses to “MacMost Now 270: Fighting Social Network Spam”

    Daniel
    7/24/09 @ 3:16 pm

    Very good basic tips.
    Sent this link off to a few friends from my “Social Groups.”

    Thanks!

    Jerry
    7/26/09 @ 8:14 pm

    You can report Twitter spam by following @spam. They will follow you back, and then you send @spam a direct message with the suspected spammer’s username. There’s a good chance the next time you look for the “spammer” they won’t exist.

Comments Closed.