Pinterest Dramatically Improves its Spam Fighting Efforts; Can Now Dismantle Malicious Attacks in Milliseconds
Just like any other popular social media site, Pinterest has its fair share of suspicious, fake, and “spammy” accounts. Since the company’s launch in March 2010, it has evolved its spam fighting tactics from rather crude beginnings to today’s efficient and continuously evolving system.
Marty Weiner, Manager of the Black Ops team (which is the name of Pinterest’s spam fighting department), gave Pinners the latest update on the social media site’s crusade against spam:
Pinterest is a great platform to spam because of the large amount of traffic we drive to other sites. Spammers want to divert traffic to their sites so Pinners will fall for scams. To do this, they’ll disguise Pins as promising weight loss products, work-from-home opportunities, cheap designer handbags and more. This is where the Pinterest BlackOps team comes in. Our mission isn’t to fight spam, but to make it so we don’t need to.
Spammers have gotten sophisticated in their tactics and excel at making realistic accounts. They even hijack existing accounts to bolster their efforts. Fortunately, spammers usually betray subtle flaws, and once Black Ops identifies their accounts, they move in to “shut them down.”
Black Ops began building a new system in 2014 called Stingray, which is being used to quickly observe attacks, create rules to respond to attacks, as well as clean up and evolve tactics—all within a matter of minutes. Weiner defines Stingray as a “distributed stream processor and rule engine” that allows Black Ops’ spam analysts to contain and eradicate malicious behavior in “milliseconds”.
Weiner claims that following its latest spam fighting efforts, the “amount of spam reported on Pinterest has nose dived to the point where it’s not a useful metric”. Moreover, the number of Pinners who click on spam has dropped by half, and the system’s ability to respond to spammy behavior has improved from 95% to 99.99%.
While these figures may sound rather vague and generalized, they indicate how far Pinterest has come in its spam fighting efforts, which should reassure Pinners who want to enjoy a high-quality, spam-free experience while using the service.
“We can dismantle entire attacks in milliseconds, whereas 12 months ago it would have taken us four hours to a day,” stated Weiner.
Pinners who want to learn more about staying safe on Pinterest are advised to check out the Help Center.
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