Publication Date: 2014 Venue: ACM Web Science Conference, WebSci '14, Indiana Domain: Information & Communication
Spam in Online Social Networks (OSNs) is a systemic problem that imposes a threat to these services in terms of undermining their value to advertisers and potential investors, as well as negatively affecting users' engagement. In this work, we present a unique analysis of spam accounts in OSNs viewed through the lens of their behavioral characteristics (i.e., profile properties and social interactions). Our analysis includes over 100 million tweets collected over the course of one month, generated by approximately 30 million distinct user accounts, of which over 7% are suspended or removed due to abusive behaviors and other violations. We show that there exist two behaviorally distinct categories of twitter spammers and that they employ different spamming strategies. The users in these two categories demonstrate different individual properties as well as social interaction patterns. As the Twitter spammers continuously keep creating newer accounts upon being caught, a behavioral understanding of their spamming behavior will be vital in the design of future social media defense mechanisms.