Pinterest was a big winner at the Webby Awards, taking the medal for best social media app, as well as the people’s voice award for best functioning visual design by the The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
The awards just shows how much people love and use Pinterest, but is that really a good thing in this day and age? With spammers taking advantage of popular web outlets, Pinterest’s success has its downside.
Spammers and scammers plague Pinterest
Pinterest is plagued by a lot of spammers and scammers who trick people into doing things like downloading applications, injecting malware that acquires a user’s data like e-mail login and even credit card information.
Back in March, it was reported that survey scammers are rampant on Pinterest. Pinners were duped by scammers into taking surveys so that they could get freebies or discount vouchers from popular shops like Starbucks or Coach. One of the conditions: after competing a survey, the user must repin the scam in order to receive the vouchers. So if people saw that others, as in actual people not bots, pinned the post, they immediately think that the “promo” is valid, further encouraging the repins. It’s a vicious and ugly cycle.
In early April, a Pinterest spammer came forward and did an interview with the Daily Dot explaining how he earns hundreds of dollars in a day by using bots on Pinterest. Though the spammer took back what he said a day after the interview was published, Pinterest acknowledged the existence of spam on their site and gave a few tips on how to identify spam, report perceived spam pins, and how Pinterest users can protect themselves from spammers. And in order to fight spamming, they block malicious links.
However, according to Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, in the case of the wonder diet scam, though Pinterest blocked the links to that particular survey, the profile of the scammer who posted the weight loss scam remained active, along with “hundreds of other similar” pins that were posted on the profile which can still be accessed by Pinterest users.
Social sites bridged by spammers
It’s not only Pinterest that’s plagued by malicious beings. Even Facebook, Twitter and other social sites were readily invaded by spammers as they hit the J curve. Often times spammers link across social sites to make it more intriguing and realistic, like posting on Facebook that you have racy photos of Scarlett Johansson on Pinterest. But before they see these alluring photos, they must first complete a survey or vice versa.
One wrong click and your world may just start to crumble.
So if a promo seems unbelievable and too good to be true, like 90% off on your next Starbucks latte or lose 50 pounds in one week, then you should trust the red light flashing in your mind. Skip the click and the survey. And if you’ve already been a victim of spamming, help people identify spammers or report them.