Friday, December 7, 2012

Pinterest announced on Thursday a major initiative to crack down on the spam accounts lurking throughout the popular photo-sharing website.

Pinterest has built a dedicated spam team to detect, remove and prevent spam, which has been growing along with the site's popularity.

"Like any online service that becomes popular, spammers are interested in what we're doing they want eyeballs and Pinterest has a lot of them," Jon Jenkins, the head of Pinterest's engineering team, told E News in a phone interview. "One of our main goals is to focus on the authenticity, and this will allow us to better do so."

To weed through the clutter, Pinterest has developed an intelligent algorithm which flags potential spam accounts via a scoring system.

"When someone clicks on a pin, it should be directed to the site where the image originated not a site which sells you something unrelated to what you want," Jenkins said. "Now, we use accounts in classification engines that score them on the likelihood of being spammers."

For example, each account is given a score let's say between 1 and 100 and the site disables those with higher numbers. For accounts in the medium-score range, Pinterest still gives them the same rights and privileges as non-offenders but suppresses their search rankings, so those pins don't show up high in search.

Jenkins said it is not a measure to prevent computers from stumbling upon viruses, but to focus on making sure pins are what they are intended to be.

The removal of spam accounts means Pinterest users may notice a small dip in the amount of people following them. However, for more than 99% of accounts, this will be less than 10 followers.
Moving forward, Pinterest said it plans to implement steps to keep spam accounts from ever being created.