Pinterest recruits users in fight against spam

Now that they've solved the copyright issue, spam is Pinterest's largest threat. Here's how users can help squash it. 


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

Published Apr 16, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 6:30 pm CDT

Pinterest’s spam problem has gotten too big for engineers to face alone.

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This weekend, the network released an official blog statement informing users about how they, too, could help combat Pinterest spam.

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“While the technology we use to detect spam becomes more advanced each day, we want Pinners to know what to do in case you come across suspicious content or links while browsing Pinterest,” a spokesperson wrote.

The post indicated that Pinterest is aware of the more advanced spamming tactics the Daily Dot outlined last week, including phishing, fake giveaways, and misleading pins that redirect users to unrelated sites. Pinterest confirmed that spammers that follow your account are harmless.

“You don’t need to be concerned if a spam account follows you on Pinterest, but you should definitely feel empowered to let us know about it,” a spokesperson wrote.

The spokesperson listed six Internet safety tips for users. Based on these tips, it’s clear that Pinterest is having a bigger problem with spam accounts than with individual pins.

During the St. Patrick’s Day and Easter attacks, spammers hijacked pins that belonged to legitimate users, making some look like spammers. But presumably thanks to Pinterest’s recent algorithm update, spammers are more likely to pin spam solely to their own accounts.

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Pinterest does not yet have a button for reporting entire accounts for spam, but a commenter on the post, Serendipity, advised users on how to report spam accounts on the Support page. Submit a new request and use the drop down menu to select Spam/Abuse > Report User > Spam.

However, users who commented on the post are anxious for a more direct method to quickly zap spammers. For commenter Wendy, the “Report Spam” button isn’t effective enough.

“I noticed one person following me whose pins have all been reported, but they are still on Pinterest,” she wrote. “Why can’t their accounts just be deleted for violating the TOS?”

Photo via Pinterest

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*First Published: Apr 16, 2012, 11:04 am CDT