Facebook Comments Plugin Is A Favorite Tool of Spammers: Report

Facebook built comments plugin to allow users to leave comments on websites, blogs and forums through their Facebook accounts. It was expected to provide high-quality conversations over the internet but instead ended up spamming popular sites.

News and Media Sites like BuzzFeed and Ozy have Facebook Comments Plugin at the end of their articles which have been spammed by fake accounts on the platform. An increasing amount of spam raises questions about how well the policy of malicious content online is going on.

There are many misleading and offensive comments, usually attracting and persuading users towards a specific link to click it. These comments are often repetitive and can easily be identified as spam.

According to an estimation by Similartech more than 360K unique domains have installed Facebook Comments plugin.

For more than two years now, Facebook has been working on its content-moderation efforts and the spamming in Facebook Comment boxes shows that problematic content still finds its way to escape the loopholes.

In December last year, one of the news agencies figured out the spam-detection failure of Facebook’s Comments Plugins, which have been there for months and no action was taken against it.

Joe Osborne, Facebook Spokesperson said the company is continuously working to limit the spamming on the platform, including on the Comments Plugins.

Facebook first introduced its comments plugins in 2009, providing publishers an easy way to let their users comment on articles. Instead of developing the complete comment functionality and user accounts, only Facebook’s code is integrated that makes conversation thread where Facebookers can readily comment form their accounts.

Through this, not only that developers of the site had less work to do, but also it was expected that comment section of sites would be less polluted with spam comments as real identities of users will be displayed through this. Facebook claimed to provide better discussions than building his own comments section or availing from any third party.

Facebook's plugin that lets users leave comments with their accounts on other websites and blogs is overrun with spam and scam links
Screenshot: DIW

According to the developer website of Facebook, comments with Facebook profiles lead to improved discussions and less spamming. It is possible to manually monitor the comments through moderation tool of Facebook and also an automatic spam filter can be used.

The systems, however, failed on several websites even after claiming to provide healthy conversations but instead have been facilitating misinformation and scam content.

Furthermore, the Facebook website that promotes the Facebook comments have not been updated in a long time, as it shows lists of partners that have been using the feature including HuffPost, Yahoo Japan, MSN, TechCrunch etc. however, many of these sites have stopped using the feature and also it even displayed a logo of HuffPost that was changed around two years ago. Upon pinpointing by BusinessInsider, the company then removed logos.

It has not been confirmed by the social network how many employees are dedicated to this feature. Some of the popular sites like Consumer Reports and Out, use the Facebook Comments Plugin but fortunately, it does not have any spam comments. Whereas it is not yet clear whether they manually work on it or spammers have not directly targeted them.

Around 35,000 employees have been working on the safety and security initiatives of the company, including the content moderation. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook repeatedly claims to spend more on safety and security yet the performance is still not that good.

It is still not clear why and how the spam filters of Facebook failed to filter the junk and spam comments. In 2015, one of the security firms, Symantec reported scammers had been trying to affect the comments sections of Facebook to spread malware.

Years later, spam nature has changed but the company still has been unable to cope with it.

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