I wrote a post a little over a week ago titled “The ticking time bomb awaiting Friendfeed.” I talked about how Friendfeed will become a spammer’s new tool, more specifically on how they could monetize on their efforts using rooms on Friendfeed. Spam on social networking sites and applications is nothing new, it just comes in different flavors. Comment spamming, profile spamming, instant messaging spam etc.
Spammers finding Friendfeed is inevitable. The first flavor of spam, comment spam appeared on Friendfeed last night on various members feeds. I saw it first on one of Steve Hodsons threads. The community acted swiftly and within minutes Amber alerts, spammer alerts were sounded and black lists were created. Bret Taylor of Friendfeed reacted quickly and terminated the spammers account. Friendfeed is still a small fish in the social sea compared to Facebook and Myspace. I think community policing works great in small numbers. The dynamics change completely when you go from a few thousand active users compared to a few million. In my opinion, Friendfeed will become a household name such as Facebook or Myspace, as for when, who knows. It is then that I can see social networking spam becoming a major headache on Friendfeed. We still have some time before that scale of spamming infiltrates Friendfeed. Content aggregator sites will become the most powerful tool for the next generation of spammers lying in wait. Friendfeed will be a major catalyst for this.
Friendfeed needs a flagging mechanism put into place, such as is implemented on Craigslist. I would also like to see visible “report or flag this” link on all member feeds and rooms. I also like Robert Scobles suggestion quoted below.
“An algorithm for block spam here on FriendFeed: if an account has x more blocks than subscribers put the account into jail where it won’t show up in anything others than the jail. I don’t like Facebook’s policy of deleting stuff. Just move it to jail.”
I could not get a screen shot of last nights spam, due to the spammers account being deleted along with all the offending comment spam. I did find another instance of comment spam on Friendfeed as shown below.
Spammers will invade Friendfeed at some point at what level, that remains to be seen. It’s too early to tell at this stage of the game. Friendfeed needs to implement the tools and mechanisms now while in the early stages, rather then playing catch up later on. Give the community the tools, and the community will use them.