Facebook Polls Users On Feed Spam

Feed Spam PollFacebook is running a poll on its home page to try to gauge the severity of the Facebook feed spam problem.

The poll (screen shot right)asks “How often do you see content you believe is spam in your News Feed on Facebook?”. I guess the careful wording is because definitions of spam, like junk mail, vary but the most important factor is how it is perceived by the recipient.

The choices are “never”, “rarely”, “sometimes”, “often” and “frequently”. I’m not entirely sure why “often” and “frequently” are listed as separate choices, given that “frequently” is the dictionary definition of “often”. I would argue that both the “often” and “frequently” answers indicate a problem for Facebook, while “never” and “rarely” are both acceptable.

I’ve reached out to Facebook to find out how long this has been running and what the precise purpose is and will update the story accordingly when I get a response. I would imagine it’s the first stage in a concerted effort to target the growing problem of spam on the social network. To properly solve an issue, you first need some good data on the scale of the problem. Of course, Facebook already has anti-spam measures in place, such as aggressively filtering pages and blocking reported spammers.

Facebook has recently been hit by waves of spam, through private messages, chats and status updates. However, this poll is focused only on spam in the news feed and I’ve asked Facebook to clarify why this is the case.

As well as dealing with spam on its own site, Facebook recently joined an industry-wide effort, sitting on the board of directors of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, or MAAWG.