TechCrunch: Dear Facebook, why are Facebook Comments so unremittingly terrible?

Good question from TechCrunch with an odd context: Dear Facebook, why are Facebook Comments so unremittingly terrible? (The odd context is that TechCrunch uses Facebook for comments.) “Obviously Facebook could clean up comment spam if they really wanted to. (And, in fairness, Facebook Comments have always been terrible.) Maybe they even will, on some executive whim. But, really, who can blame them for not bothering? Facebook has become a business which focuses on things that affect billions of users, and/or bring in billions in revenue. Comments don’t come even close to moving the needle on that scale. But Facebook Comments are an excellent object example of a curious tech paradox: the bigger the business, the less you can rely on its new initiatives.”

Was Ted Cruz Attacked by a Swarm of Twitter Spambots?

Was Ted Cruz attacked by a swarm of Twitter spambots? “Yesterday, Republican strategist and #NeverTrump affiliate Patrick Ruffini noticed something strange. Four hundred sixty-five separate Twitter accounts had tweeted a message complaining about Ted Cruz’s robocall program. ‘If you’ve opted out of Ted Cruz robocalls and are still receiving calls, you can file a complaint with the FCC,’ the tweets read, followed by a link to a reporting page.”

Spammers Exploiting .gov Domains

Oh boy, I’ve been worried about this: spammers are exploiting .gov domains. “Spam purveyors are taking advantage of so-called ‘open redirects’ on several U.S. state Web sites to hide the true destination to which users will be taken if they click the link. Open redirects are potentially dangerous because they let spammers abuse the reputation of the site hosting the redirect to get users to visit malicious or spammy sites without realizing it.”

Ransomware Spam Takes a Big Jump

Be careful! There’s apparently a lot of ransomware spam going around. “Security firms are warning about a sudden ‘huge’ surge in junk mail messages containing ransomware. The surge is being blamed on the group behind a novel strain of ransomware called Locky. One security firm reported that a version of Locky produced two weeks ago is now the second most prevalent form of ransomware it sees.”

Look out for Crap and Spam on SourceForge

Look out for crap on SourceForge. Though the new owners of the site are making some efforts to clean it up and restore its reputation, I’m finding some shenanigans. A recent Google Alert pointed me toward a digital archive on SourceForge, and though the snippet made it fairly clear it was spam, I clicked on it anyway to see the SF page itself looked like. It kicked me straight to an essay-writing site, and I did not linger. The start of the SourceForge url was “soonpun.sourceforge,” and searching for that in Google found over 33,000 results. So be careful out there!

Attack of the Mailbot

Jessica Dolcourt at CNET writes about a recent issue she’s been having with what appears to be “mailbot” attacks. “If you’ve ever sent an automated out-of-office message from your account when you went on vacation, you’ve already encountered a mailbot, so you know that these software agents aren’t necessarily nefarious on their own…. But the same kind of automation that’s used for convenience can also orchestrate a scam that cycles through variations of email permutations until it latches onto a valid address. Then, it signs up that address for newsletters and websites, likely as a way of lifting your account credentials to use in further mailbot attacks.”

Yahoo Must Face Class Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Text Message Spam

Yahoo must face a class-action lawsuit over alleged spam text messages. “Yahoo Inc was ordered by a Chicago federal judge on Monday to face a class action lawsuit accusing the Internet company of sending unsolicited text messages to Sprint Corp cellphone users in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. U.S. District Judge Manish Shah said the users could sue as a group over messages sent in March 2013 because their claims had enough in common.”

Twitter Users Posting Phone Numbers Being Spammed Silly (Or Silly Spammed)

People who have made their phone numbers public on Twitter are being spammed and made to tweet Edward Snowden to stop it. “A concerned citizen has been scraping phone numbers posted publicly by Twitter users, and sending them interesting facts about cats in the hope of educating them about the internet. The only way to stop this deluge of feline factoids? Tweet ‘Meow, I <3 catfacts' at Edward Snowden."

FCC To Release Phone Numbers of Telemarketers, Robocallers

The FCC has announced (in a DOCX file for some reason, sorry) that it will be releasing phone numbers and telemarketer numbers on a weekly basis. “The Federal Communications Commission announced today the Commission will release robocall and telemarketing consumer complaint data weekly to help developers build and improve ‘do-not-disturb’ technologies that allow consumers to block or filter unwanted calls and texts. The data, including originating phone numbers of telemarketers and automated robocalls, will be released and available on the FCC’s Consumer Help Center’s website.” I look forward to lots of lovely call-blocking solutions being built out of this.

LinkedIn Has to Pay Out After Annoying Users

LinkedIn has to pay out after spamming the crap out of people. “LinkedIn’s Add Connections program allowed users to import their personal contacts into the company’s system and then have invitations to connect on LinkedIn sent out on their behalf. However, if a recipient of the invitation email didn’t accept the invitation within a certain amount of time, LinkedIn would then send two follow up emails repeating the invitation.” Okay, so technically it’s not spamming people, because LinkedIn did have permission to communicate with people. So I guess technically I should write “LinkedIn has to pay out after horribly abusing the trust and permission of its users by metaphorically beating them over the head with an e-mail stick.” Right?

Academia.edu Spam?

I get notifications regularly about new posts on Academia.edu. Unfortunately in the last few days I’ve also gotten two hits on spam uploads. Anybody else seen these? Here’s the direct link to one of them with the screenshot below. (And if I’m wrong and this is not spam, please let me know that too… don’t like to falsely accuse things of being spam….)