In the past, spam was largely directed at email accounts with addresses being harvested online and unwanted or unsolicited messages being sent directly to the inbox. Since email filters have become smarter and more effective however, spammers have since turned their attention to another avenue: social media.

Fake accounts on Facebook or Twitter now use the following five methods to spread their spam on the social airwaves.

  • Bulk Messaging. Sending a large number of the same or similar messages to a group of people. This can cause a certain topic to start trending or spread malware or advertising to a great many viewers
  • Malicious Links. Posting or tweeting with links meant for a specific malicious purpose. This can include spreading a virus or stealing the user’s personal information. Be careful before clicking any links seen on social media.
  • Fraudulent Reviews. These are written through fake accounts by people who have never used the product or service. They can be purchased in bulk over the net by disreputable firms who want to boost their brand.
  • Undesired Content. Bots can be installed to post threats, insults and unwanted advertising on a forum, Facebook page or Twitter feed. These can also follow new users and continue the spread of spam there too.
  • Clickbaiting. This involves posting up a link with a sensationalist headline designed to convince the person to click. The content may be completely unrelated and is usually there to draw in advertising revenue or unwittingly install malware.

Fortunately, social media platforms are doing their best to eliminate these forms of spam through added security features such as phone verification with one-time passwords (OTP). These make it more costly and a lot more time consuming for spammers to create multiple fake accounts within these popular online communities.