Detecting collective attention spam Conference Paper uri icon


  • We examine the problem of collective attention spam, in which spammers target social media where user attention quickly coalesces and then collectively focuses around a phenomenon. Compared to many existing spam types, collective attention spam relies on the users themselves to seek out the content - like breaking news, viral videos, and popular memes - where the spam will be encountered, potentially increasing its effectiveness and reach. We study the presence of collective attention spam in one popular service, Twitter, and we develop spam classifiers to detect spam messages generated by collective attention spammers. Since many instances of collective attention are bursty and unexpected, it is difficult to build spam detectors to pre-screen them before they arise; hence, we examine the effectiveness of quickly learning a classifier based on the first moments of a bursting phenomenon. Through initial experiments over a small set of trending topics on Twitter, we find encouraging results, suggesting that collective attention spam may be identified early in its life cycle and shielded from the view of unsuspecting social media users. © 2012 ACM.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, K., Caverlee, J., Kamath, K. Y., & Cheng, Z.

citation count

  • 21

publication date

  • January 2012