Spam 2.0

Back in 2004 my first email box had a size of only 100 Mb therefore, because of spam, it got full once in a while. I remember missing an e-mail from a friend of mine because of this issue. At that I time I thought of spammers as people who made money by making the world a worse place by sending unwanted advertisements to millions of people. Those people abused the best feature of email; the freedom of sending an electronic letter to a person without getting their permission. Luckily, those days are gone so now anyone can have an email box with “unlimited” size and 99% of spam is filtered!

Recently I watched a video about one episode of Russian history on Youtube. The video touched on a highly sensitive historical period so I decided to review people’s comments. It’s important to mention that I’m used to using the comments section as a place where I can get an alternative view on the subject or pick up some facts about the topic.

After ten years of using internet discussions, I think about the comments section as a public place so you would get a little upset if somebody doesn’t pick up dog shit on a street or leave an embarrassing comment.

Looking at the comments section of the video I was surprised that almost all of these comments were aligned with no discussion, the same opinion but said differently. I also noticed that many of of those comments were grammatically incorrect and a big chunk of them were a stream of offensive words. I decided to quickly scroll down to the bottom and found about one thousand similar comments. It was clear that those comments were posted by professional internet trolls. I got the same feeling as when I missed the email from my friend.

In some cases professional internet trolls are quite similar to spammers. I googled “how internet trolls work” and found a recent article from the NY Times about an internet troll farm in my motherland. What a surprise! Everyday about 400 people go to work to post false opinions on the internet. All these people as well as the company founders make money by making the world a worse place. Although the comments section now is vulnerable to the professional trolls, there should be a way to filter 99% of their work. According to the NYTimes article all the trolls’ accounts are reused multiple times. They interact only with each other. It must be very tiring to produce original content so they should be copying it from time to time. They steal content from real people, e.g avatars and personal photos. The real people are not celebrities so nobody else would copy their photos. There must be other indicators that are available to the platform’s owner so development of the spam filter 2.0 is just a matter of time.