Pinterest announced last Thursday that it is cracking down on spammer accounts. Pinterest has created a team just for this purpose. The social media site has attempted to purge the site of copyrighted material and spam in the past, but this is the first attempt fix the major spam problem.
Pinterest is meant to be a place of visually appealing images of ideas and things that people can buy. It seems that most people do not seem to mind that some pictures come from fake accounts or that they cannot tell the difference. The ads that were spammed, like the Best Buy one seen below, are the real cause of concern for most people.
The reason that spam profiles cause such a problem on Pinterest is that unlike Facebook or Twitter, people or accounts do not need to follow or “friend” a profile to see posts. Anyone is able to see pins and boards. Privacy is very limited.
First, it is important for consumers to be able to identify what spam content looks like. Pinterest’s M.O. is to circulate and promote images. It seems like the perfect breeding ground for spammers. Pinterest is a little different than the spam profiles of Facebook and Twitter because it takes out the middleman and is an entirely visual platform.
To weed through the clutter, Pinterest has developed an algorithm that flags potential spam accounts via a scoring system. Each account is given a score where the site disables those with higher numbers. When a profile comes back with a medium-ranged score, then that profile remains, except their search rankings are severely diminished. Those profiles can still be found but will not rank high in searches.
Jon Jenkins, head of engineering at Pinterest, stated that it is not a measure to prevent computers from running into viruses, but to focus on making sure pins are what they intended to be. He wants the site to be enjoyable and visually pleasing. The removal of spam accounts means Pinteresters may see a small drop in their followers, but it will not be a noticeable difference for most people.
Pinterest has also stated that moving forward, it plans to implement steps to keep spam accounts from ever being created.