Spammers target social networks

2012-08-16 07:21
Social network users should be wary of brands targeting them with spam. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Social network users should be wary of brands targeting them with spam. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Spam served via social networks is expected to grow as spammers increasingly target trending topics in the hopes of directing more internet traffic to their websites.

Consumers should be aware of the practices that spammers will use to win clicks on networks like Twitter, an industry insider has advised.

"You can be sure that people will look for loopholes around Facebook and Twitter. On Twitter, for example a tactic used by spammers is to look for trending topics," managing director of BulkSMS.com Dr Pieter Streicher told News24.

Streicher has long campaigned against unsolicited messages and is particularly vocal about SMS spam.

Companies have realised that as consumers move to social networking platforms, it represents a new opportunity to target spam.

Abuse

Many spammers will follow Twitter users and tweet their names with a link to spam or malicious website. It has also become more common for them to abuse the hash tag for trending topics in order to snare unwary users.

"Social networks are not immune to spamming tactics; you see it also on forums on the internet. People are discussing a certain topic and suddenly there's a completely unrelated comment with an advert," said Streicher.

Current legislation doesn't forbid spam and obliges the receiver to opt out, as in the case on cellphone messages.

Streicher believes this approach is erroneous because the user may incur costs to opt out, and the opt out only prohibits that particular company from sending spam, it does not prevent them from selling a consumer's details to a third party.

"It allows that practice until the point that you are about to get message and the only onus on the company is to check that you have not opted out before," he said.

He advised consumers to use the social networking tools to name and shame brands that employed spamming tricks as well as online portals such as HelloPeter.

"My advice to consumers is that if brands behave in a way that they regard as unacceptable, to simply tweet about that. Consumers have a lot of power today because new communication tools allow them to tell everyone what is happening."

The Protection of Personal Information Bill (Popi) is aimed at regulating what can be done with personal information and seeks to enforce openness about how and where personal data will be used.

"That [Popi] works on an opt in basis - that's the first legislation in South Africa that actually looks at how personal information is dealt with. There's basically a principle throughout this act that there should be consent," said Streicher.


- Follow Duncan on Twitter 
- News24
Read more on:    internet
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.