Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam SPAM: Will it ever end? Tl;dr: NosteemCreated with Sketch.

in steemit •  last year

We all know that Steemit has this problem. And we all know it's a big problem. Some know it more than others. But the extent is kind of hard to comprehend, like the age of the Universe.

I wanted to make a post investigating the extent of spam being trawled across the Steemit ocean, but I'm no coder, I have no skills in automatic curating algorithms or whatever. I don't even know what the means.

All I can realistically do is click on stuff. So I did this for a while and I started feeling a little sick in the soul.

Initial attempt

At first I was going to start an Excel document finding a trail of users directly linked to @a-jeffrey. I believe this user has multiple accounts, more than I can find, and is posting sexy girls and claiming the photos as his/her own. I found that this user is doing the same thing on facebook (with somewhere over 250,000 followers), an even Steemkr.com (because that's apparently a thing).

With the help of @fingolfin, it turns out that @ajeffrey is the same person (or directly affiliated with) @mrhappy, @a-alice, @a-angel, @vargapauline, @steemitblogs and who knows how many more. I didn't want to dig any deeper in the end, because these accounts seem indifferent to any cheetah bot or downvotes, simply going inactive and popping up elsewhere with the same content theft and signature.

A-jeffrey

So I looked into @a-jeffrey's follower list and it was like opening Pandora's box!

I began from the top, going alphabetically:

Then I got bored on an already boring weekend. So I decided to spice things up by going into the J's and the T's and the Z's. Every single account I clicked on was a plagiarism account, with the exception of 3 or 4 which were resteeming accounts.

That's not to say that every single account WAS spam, but that the percentage was so high that the chances of clicking on a legitimate account was insignificant.

So I started looking at some of those resteemers, and this is where it gets ugly.

aaabbb

So I looked into @aaabbb, and their resteem service suggests to 'customers' to send the money to @acat222. @acat222 tells their customers to send money to @aaabbb.

Together, that's potentially 6,000 accounts being spammed, with a combined 17,000 followers. But the reason that's so bad is that these re-steemers aren't even in the big league! These are just your average re-steem spammers. Enter Mr Jones

jones420

Here we have a user offering a 'resteem service' to 6,000 accounts, whilst following 85,000 accounts.

Other accounts are more unusual:

ebargains

This account came to fruition a full year ago, and has a decent reputation of 55, and 828 followers. But even here you get the same spammy message:

'Dear Followers, We now offer a GREAT RESTEEM service for your Steemit posts to over 120,000 of our followers on our Steemit/Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/Pinterest accounts'

This is interesting for three reasons:

  • ebargains doesn't have 120,000 followers but doesn't mention another account
  • They appear to be using other social media sites, like anybody would care about those here for monetary gain
  • An account so old in these circumstances makes me suspect it was either stolen or bought. I'll get back to that in a minute.

On ALL of these accounts, every single account I checked, you can go into their wallets and it won't be long until you see the infamous:

joanaltres

This user has been plaguing everybody's wallet feeds, with massive statistics of 16,418 followers and 66,449 following. jo 'anal' tres informs you to send money to @carlobelgado, another giant account with 10,161 followers while following 33,239. (though, with a dead-follower count of 2,500!)

I also noticed this amusing account in jo anal's wallet:

(This is the only activity the punisherr account has committed to)

Scrolling down these wallets, it didn't take too long to come across:

My old buddy, bilalhaider

I didn't tag him because he's mentally unhinged and I'd rather reduce the risk of my lovely science-y account being ruined by some whale he might be in contact with, but even so, his damage to the community at large has not gone unnoticed, with 5.696 followers while following 85,736 accounts.

Due to bilal's history of spamming steemit.chat and stealing people's identity, his account was reduced to -1 reputation, so it appears he is using other accounts to bypass that deficit:

One thing I found amusing here was the apparent war of words between bilal and @jones420

The irony in this comment is golden.

Another interesting detail in Bilal's wallet is a user offering to buy his dirty, -1 reputation account and thus his followers to promote their own resteem business, the seemingly innocent looking @vominhquoc

vominhquoc

This user is odd. They want to buy off bilal, but they themselves don't have too many followers, though they do send a variety of spam from their wallets, with hundreds of 'Return my earning to my followers :) !!! Don't forget to check out my profile everyday to get newest tricks.' in the last 30 minutes or so alone.

What does this mean?

Well, for a start it means nobody here is safe from spam, but in particular, it means Steemit can proudly and honestly say, with 100% guarantee, that your account will be spammed by merely 5 users on this website, since they alone manage to cover potentially hundreds of thousands of accounts as time goes by.

It also means that reputation means nothing to them. Even if they don't bypass with other accounts, they just chug away at an alarming rate anyway.

Further, it appears that these users don't see this as a bad thing. They're taking the approach of an honest, hard-working business. You can tell because occasionally when mistakes are made or people send the wrong amount of money, they manually return it with an apology, or they thank individuals with custom memos. If nothing else, they shouldn't advertise 10,000 followers when often a good quarter of those are dead accounts that haven't made any activity in well over a month. But hey, who cares about honesty when you have 'honesty'!

But, most of all, it means there is likely nothing that can be done to stop it. I don't know what @sherlockholmes, @spaminator, @sadkitten and all the other cleaner-uppers (myself included) can really do when the outreach of the spam army crosses the entire website, but if somebody like @elfspice has a solution, i'd certainly enjoy hearing about it.

But the way I see it, Steemit has allowed bots, and bots it shall have.

What do you think?

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This post received a 3.6% upvote from @randowhale thanks to @holoz0r! For more information, click here!

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Using randowhale is just as bad for the platform as all of the spammers, if not more, because randowhale is draining the rewards pool for everyone when everyone is using it so often simply to augment their own income. I know the OP didn't send money to randowhale, but it is still a problem on the platform..

Seems the blockchain or network is not working, I will try busy.org to confirm. I Had wrote a paragraph long comment that wouldn't post before I even made the other relatively short comments. I didn't notice until I had tried to comment on the bottom comment about running out of blockchain space and it was another paragraph and wouldn't post..

Yup, cannot upload images it seems.

Figured out what it was... one torrent was redirecting traffic to upload

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The end is nigh!

Woah that's some good investigative research. As a start, i think not following any spammer would be a good move. That way, they're relegated to the 'new' feed and comments section (for the most part).

Given the current steemit format, i think it's going to be hard to deal with spam. I think communities with moderators would help to make dealing with spam more manageable. Just a thought.

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I'm very impressed with what's going on in Steemit so far, there are numerous large accounts both controlling spammers and promoting under-valued accounts in a kind of 'survival of the fittest' routine, but it's not enough right now, still a losing battle sigh

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It hardly costs anything to spam, and voting power is precious for everyone.

If I come across anybody that is just uncontrollably spamming the same thing over and over again I just mute them.. and if it really annoys me, let's say he/she/it happened to find one of my posts I also give a nice little red flag in addition.
I'm not sure if we can do any more than that, but I like your investigations, and I can do nothing else but confirm your words...

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Sadly you cant do anything more about it, just ignore or mute like you said...

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Yeah it's the best bet, but there are people, evidently, that buy into it, and when there are 100,000 users with it, even 1% is significant =/

Joanaltres regularly sends me money, and I regularly take it and keep ignoring shrug.
I wonder why these people don't use all their time to try to build a legitimate blog.

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I hope that 0.001 transfer build up to something like a new Ferrari! heh

I am amazed after reading your post is so amazing. Thanks for sharing a good post steemit!

SPAM

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I'm not sure if to upvote this 100% or flag it 100%... argh!

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It's more than likely a language barrier, certainly frustrating.

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That guy is a noted plagiarist with a link to multiple cheetah banned accounts

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Lol great...

My concern for things like this is the block chain bloat that all of these transfers, resteems, and unnecessary transactions cause especially when 11/10 times they're for very shitposts.

This is not one of them.

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@elfspice touched on this indeed, steemit is quickly running out of blockchain space because there's no limit set on user's ability to do whatever they want as much as they want... could spell trouble soon

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Agreed. Read his post on the topic. Its a bit disturbing. Hopefully we'll see some new commits to the repository that may try to change this behaviour, and get some witness support going for it.

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Detrimental behavior in every sense - the entire premise of multiple accounts for one person is the problem imo - doubly so when you're dealing it's a block chain driven platform.

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Yeah, it's just super short-sighted, but could be the end of us =/

You went deeeep down the rabbit hole O.O

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That's what Saturdays are for!

This is really crazy...... And sad
One thing is that beginner is actually easily get frustrated, then start to copy things and switch their mind in "how to earn money quickly".
I somehow feel like rich one get richer here

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Yeah if people don't have the right support, like bilalhaider, they turn to the dark side... the place needs a total overhaul somehow

Oh wow!!! This isn't good at all. Is there no way to deal with it firmly? I don't know. Perhaps a bot or something that tracks all those accounts and spams every post/comment they make with a warning of sorts to their followers? I don't know, I'm far to new here to fully grasp this. On the other hand it seems as thought it's a system that supports itself, if I'm understanding this correctly, by voting for its own accounts...

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There are some bots like steemcleaners and cheetah and they do a good job, but it's hard to keep up when everybody on here is trying to get rich in the quickest, laziest way possible... sigh

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Hmmm, yeah. Shouldn't bots go through an approval process first? Ugh, anyway, I probably still don't quite understand this well enough. I'll catch you in the chat sometime... spot you there quite often. Perhaps you could explain to me a little better then :) Cheers

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damn, you're great! I can't believe I've been interacting with one of a-jeffrey 's fake account, a-alice I knew something was off coz her sentence structure sucks. I tried to check if it was plagiarized but he seem to jumble the words and the commas and the period was put in the wrong places. You did a wonderful job here @mobbs! and to bilalhaider haha! you're doomed!

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Argh you tagged him. Oh well. Yeah careful! I tend to check user's interactions before i bother commenting, because I want to actually interact with HUMANS heh

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I edited my original post. Sorry pal. Lol! I hope he learns a lesson. :D

The solution will be Calibrae, the next evolution of Steemit, well a forked version So it has nothing to do with Steemit Inc.
It is unfortunate that there is so much spam and multi accounts ruining this platform though. at.elfspice is no longer using that account it is now @calabrae everyone should read about 'the next Steemit'
You got an upvote & resteem from me.
Steem on beyond the moon, who's in for the ride? Good luck to us all.
EDIT: @calibrae not @calabrae , stupid mistake sorry.

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He is working with Bilal and that dude is crazy I don't think it was a smart move to work with that guy. He was threaten women in general chat because he came in the room wondering why we have less followers than he did but we make more money then he does. I was working on a project at the time but people were reporting he was copying and pasting. I politely told him he should create his own content and I started getting attack. He threaten to kill me, cut off my head, Fck me in the A* and made a meme out of my photo and other women on the site calling us ugly bitches for trying to help him. Then he has spammed the room many times with a childish spam bot. Bilal is unhinged

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It's @calibrae :)

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I've been keeping a close eye on @elfspice's adventures. @benjojo feels he's taking too much on at once, and will end up with nothing but I dunno, I'd like to have faith that he can do it purely from the energy of spite, if nothing else.

If he can, I say go for it, but I wouldn't pretend to know how feasible it is...Soon find out!

And thanks for the resteem =D

I love your post. We have similar thoughts. I posted about this a while back with trying to identify all of the bots / spam accounts.

I realized I bit off way more than I could chew. The analysis is huge and would take me weeks of dedicated time, but I don't have the ability to do that in addition to my full time job.

Great analysis and keep up the good fight!

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It's efforts like yours that make the platform worth fighting for in the first place =D

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Thank you :)

I feel like it is all of our duties to continue to make this platform great, and support it in the way that it was intended to be used!

Spam is an issue on all platforms. I probably get 10 or 20 "new users" siging up for my blog everyday. The can't do anything because I have permissions set a certain way on there, but it's annoying to have to go through and clean them out so often.

Frankly, I'm surprised Steemit allows bots and multiple accounts. I have a question on the subject of blockchains as a finite storage resource. Does it really make sense to choose a blockchain, knowing that it will eventually fill up , as a storage medium?

Upped, resteemed, and followed! Thanks so much for sharing!

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Thanks!

I noticed when I used to use wordpress that, even when I posted something strongly against one thing based on my views, I would get followers from them anyway, possibly because I simply tagged the word. So let's say I wrote how much I hate FRENCH people. I'd end up with 5 french accounts... urgh.

So yeah it's bad on many sites but when this kinda money is at stake, a veritable economy, more has to be done...

Not sure about the paid resteems, but we can minimise the spam with a fairly minor change.
(Past payout)

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The slider idea is great! Should have gotten way more wide-spread viewing!

It's especially great because it made me go from 'there's no solution' to 'I can envisage a whole rainbow of potential solutions'

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Thankyou, I agree (naturally)
I just hope it landed on the right pair of eyeballs at some point.

that is what you get on a system without moderators and money involved :) but still it sucks

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Heh yes, very succinct point