Facebook's Massive Security System Scans Your Messages to Kill Spam

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Facebook says it has 750,000,000 users. Somewhere in that mix of baby pictures and beer pong, a hell of a lot of scam and spam activity is spread. Luckily for us, Zuckerberg retaliates with the "Facebook Immune System."

A combination of both sophisticated spam-seeking algorithms and a team of 30 human spam hunters, the Facebook Immune System has a pretty massive task, NewScientist reports. Literally every single click on Facebook is scanned through the FIS—every picture, every comment, every update, every friend request. Everything. There are 25 billion of these clicks every single day. That's a lot for 30 people to handle, even with computerized backup. But the results are pretty impressive, according to Facebook's internal numbers: only 4% of the entire network's messages are spammy, and only 1% of Facebook's users get hit with spam.

This means taking preemptive action. Whenever you send a message to someone, it's scanned for red flags: say, "viagra," or "free iPhone." A good defense, but a privacy question I wasn't aware of. FIS will also raise an eyebrow at users who receive massive number of friendship denials—likely a friending spree robot.


And yet, I still see pernicious bullshit on Facebook pretty regularly. Friends who share a CLICK TO SEE THIS GIANT SPIDER EATING A FACE links—sensationalist stuff that begs to be clicked, and then hijacks an account. This is, of course, followed by the "sorry guys my account got hacked ignore all the messages!!!" post. So FIS might not be perfect, but compensating for gullibility can't be done with all the algorithm power in the world. [NewScientist]

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