Spammers attack Pinterest on Easter

Many holiday-themed pins from actual Pinterest users currently redirect to unrelated advertising sites. 

Mar 3, 2020, 7:06 am*

Internet Culture

Lauren Rae Orsini 

Lauren Rae Orsini

Pinterest couldn’t catch a break this holiday weekend. While pinners celebrated Easter, spammers were hijacking holiday-themed pins.

To see the damage for yourself, search “Easter” or “Easter Meal” on Pinterest. Many of the pins that come up, like these two pins, redirect to advertising sites that have nothing to do with Easter at all. The pins are not coming from spammers or bots, but from legitimate users who appear to have had their pins tampered with.

Pinchat group member Jewel Fryer tipped fellow pinners off to the development over the weekend:

“A great many pins relating to Easter have been hijacked. They either take you to a weight loss, site or some other spam or have been taken down along with the many fake accounts associated with them. I gave up and I’m going to watch a movie on Netflix and try to come up with a clever idea for a Easter basket for teenagers on my own.”

This isn’t the first time spammers have taken advantage of a holiday weekend to double their efforts. Pinterest’s last major hack, which made non-spammer users and even Pinterest employees appear to spam the site, occurred over St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

“The hack occurring on St. Patrick’s Day likely allowed these pins to go unnoticed by the Pinterest team for longer than would have occurred on normal weekday,” observed blogger Josh Davis.

Pinterest has recently adjusted its algorithm to make spamming more difficult, but Pinchat users have found the attack to be as large as previous ones.

Now that Pinterest’s engineers are back at the office, spam cleanup is already well underway. Here’s an example of a pin that has been reported for spam and no longer redirects.

In order to assist Pinterest engineers, click “Report Pin” and select “Spam.”

It’s like the spam version of Easter egg hunting.

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*First Published: Apr 9, 2012, 2:32 pm