Posts tagged spam

That Facebook page you like is actually spam

Aly Monique spends her days studying nursing in Chicago, but at night she plays a stylist online. At the social-shopping site Polyvore, she creates fashionable ensembles with chic bags and cute designer dresses and sexy shoes. She has no training in the art of style, but the numbers prove her talent. Every time one of her sets gets posted to Facebook, tens of thousands of people like and share it. They gush with praise. They beg to know where they can buy every single item, right down to the accessories.

But Monique is completely clueless of her popularity.

Her images are being stolen by a Facebook page called Dresses and shared with its 2.9 million followers—without permission and without credit.

Every day, Facebook users talk about Dresses more than just about any other page on the social network. The “talking about this" statistic, which you can see at the top of every Facebook page, is perhaps the network’s most meaningful metric of success. It shows popularity, but also engagement. It’s about who shares you and who talks about you. Lady Gaga, with her 55 million subscribers, only manages to muster about 500,000 people talking about her at any given time. Dresses, by contrast, routinely pulls in a far more monstrous 2 million, and nearly every day, the page hits the top 30 most-talked-about pages, according to data provided by independent social analytics firm PageData.

The page’s success comes from stealing collages created by Monique, and others like her, and turning them into an endless stream of eye candy for style lovers. If you subscribe to Dresses, your Facebook page becomes a fashion catalog, barraged with cute pictures of ready-made outfits. It’s Facebook window shopping.

But it’s also spam. Each photograph serves as a vehicle to deliver links to either another Facebook page owned by the same group or, more commonly, to an external site called Stylish Eve—a self-proclaimed “online magazine” that consists of little more than boilerplate text, more stolen images, and huge Google ads.

It’s a content farm fertilized by Facebook.
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[original gif by challenger]
Unraveling Markovian Parallax Denigrate, the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mystery

Spam. It’s the Internet’s most resilient parasite. Millions of messages pollute the Web’s pipes every day. Grow a monster penis. Lose 20 pounds. Help out an African prince. You know the drill.

A lot of it is garbled junk, sentences that read like a computer ingested the Oxford English Dictionary and vomited it back out. The results are bizarre and often unintentionally hilarious, a favorite subject of forwarded emails or, in the age of Twitter, cult celebrity. Spam account @horse_ebooks boasts 120,000 thousand followers thanks entirely to the accidental and absurdist poetry of its tweets.

But back in 1996, users of the proto-Web community Usenet got spammed with messages that reached an almost transcendent level of bizarre—a weirdness so precise it implied the influence of a very human intelligence. “Markovian Parallax Denigrate,” read the title of each post, followed by a mountain of seemingly meaningless word spew:

jitterbugging McKinley Abe break Newtonian inferring caw update Cohen
air collaborate rue sportswriting rococo invocate tousle shadflower
Debby Stirling pathogenesis escritoire adventitious novo ITT most
chairperson Dwight Hertzog different pinpoint dunk McKinley pendant
firelight Uranus episodic medicine ditty craggy flogging variac
brotherhood Webb impromptu file countenance inheritance cohesion
refrigerate morphine napkin inland Janeiro nameable yearbook hark

According to later accounts, hundreds of these messages flooded Usenet discussion groups on Aug. 5, 1996, launching the type of intense rigorous inquiries you’d expect from the geeky academics who frequented Usenet back then—none of which turned up any answers. And the event was soon mostly forgotten, washed away in the deluge of information and culture ushered in by the burgeoning popularity of the World Wide Web.

Then, around 2006, the event’s Wikipedia page became a favorite bullet point for any number of “creepy Wikipedia” lists that made their way across blogs and obscure Web forums. Soon bloggers had dug up something even more curious.

At Google’s public Usenet archives, only one message remains with a subject line that reads “Markovian Parallax Denigrate.” And the name on the sender’s email address was curiously familiar to anyone who happened to be a national security wonk: Susan Lindauer, a former journalist who was arrested in 2004 after allegedly serving as an agent of Saddam Hussein’s government. She’s has since become a purveyor of sundry conspiracy theories, from a Lockerbie bombing cover-up to 9/11 trutherism.

Shortly after Lindauer’s connection to all this was dug up, the Wikipedia page disappeared. You needn’t have been a conspiracy nut to connect the dots, to think something fishy was going.

Was the Markovian Parallax Denigrate a message—a cipher hiding a deep government secret?

This is a story of two Susan Lindauers and how they accidentally gave a second life to one of the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mysteries.
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Unraveling Markovian Parallax Denigrate, the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mystery

Spam. It’s the Internet’s most resilient parasite. Millions of messages pollute the Web’s pipes every day. Grow a monster penis. Lose 20 pounds. Help out an African prince. You know the drill.

A lot of it is garbled junk, sentences that read like a computer ingested the Oxford English Dictionary and vomited it back out. The results are bizarre and often unintentionally hilarious, a favorite subject of forwarded emails or, in the age of Twitter, cult celebrity. Spam account @horse_ebooks boasts 120,000 thousand followers thanks entirely to the accidental and absurdist poetry of its tweets.

But back in 1996, users of the proto-Web community Usenet got spammed with messages that reached an almost transcendent level of bizarre—a weirdness so precise it implied the influence of a very human intelligence. “Markovian Parallax Denigrate,” read the title of each post, followed by a mountain of seemingly meaningless word spew:

jitterbugging McKinley Abe break Newtonian inferring caw update Cohen air collaborate rue sportswriting rococo invocate tousle shadflower Debby Stirling pathogenesis escritoire adventitious novo ITT most chairperson Dwight Hertzog different pinpoint dunk McKinley pendant firelight Uranus episodic medicine ditty craggy flogging variac brotherhood Webb impromptu file countenance inheritance cohesion refrigerate morphine napkin inland Janeiro nameable yearbook hark

According to later accounts, hundreds of these messages flooded Usenet discussion groups on Aug. 5, 1996, launching the type of intense rigorous inquiries you’d expect from the geeky academics who frequented Usenet back then—none of which turned up any answers. And the event was soon mostly forgotten, washed away in the deluge of information and culture ushered in by the burgeoning popularity of the World Wide Web.

Then, around 2006, the event’s Wikipedia page became a favorite bullet point for any number of “creepy Wikipedia” lists that made their way across blogs and obscure Web forums. Soon bloggers had dug up something even more curious.

At Google’s public Usenet archives, only one message remains with a subject line that reads “Markovian Parallax Denigrate.” And the name on the sender’s email address was curiously familiar to anyone who happened to be a national security wonk: Susan Lindauer, a former journalist who was arrested in 2004 after allegedly serving as an agent of Saddam Hussein’s government. She’s has since become a purveyor of sundry conspiracy theories, from a Lockerbie bombing cover-up to 9/11 trutherism.

Shortly after Lindauer’s connection to all this was dug up, the Wikipedia page disappeared. You needn’t have been a conspiracy nut to connect the dots, to think something fishy was going.

Was the Markovian Parallax Denigrate a message—a cipher hiding a deep government secret?

This is a story of two Susan Lindauers and how they accidentally gave a second life to one of the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mysteries.
[continue]

Tumblr app promises to reveal your “stalkers,” posts spam instead

A Tumblr spam application is tricking users into giving it access to their blogs by promising users they can find out who’s viewing their sites.

The application ProfileStalkr requires users to give it “read and write” access using Tumblr’s application access settings, with the promise of allowing users to see what other Tumblr users have viewed their account and how many times.

Instead, once the application has access, it begins to randomly post survey spam to their accounts.

As Tumblr user lewdis has recently discovered, it takes a lot more than just changing your password and clearing your browsing history to fix this problem. You must go into your blog setting and revoke access to application under the apps section.[continue]

Tumblr app promises to reveal your “stalkers,” posts spam instead

A Tumblr spam application is tricking users into giving it access to their blogs by promising users they can find out who’s viewing their sites.

The application ProfileStalkr requires users to give it “read and write” access using Tumblr’s application access settings, with the promise of allowing users to see what other Tumblr users have viewed their account and how many times.

Instead, once the application has access, it begins to randomly post survey spam to their accounts.

As Tumblr user lewdis has recently discovered, it takes a lot more than just changing your password and clearing your browsing history to fix this problem. You must go into your blog setting and revoke access to application under the apps section.
[continue]

6 things to know about Reddit’s Great Spam Purge of 2012

For more than a year, The Atlantic, Businessweek, and PhysOrg have dominated Reddit, boasting multiple top posts everyday and funneling millions of visitors to their sites. So it was a bit of a shock Wednesday when Reddit summarily banned multiple big name domains from the social news site for “spamming” or “cheating”—i.e., organizing voting cliques to artificially push content up.

Reddit took some heat for the decision, on both Reddit and other platforms. Forbes’ Greg Voakes called the move an “abrupt act of censorship.”

Reddit doesn’t usually comment on its spamming decisions and didn’t respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. The site’s staff have, however, discussed the decision obliquely and even directly on Reddit itself. And over the past 24 hours, a few things have been made clear.

Here’s our summary of what you need to know about Reddit’s Great Spam Purge of 2012.
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On The Dot: June 13, 2012

We publish a ton of content every day, but we don’t want to flood your Tumblr stream. Instead, we’re going to highlight five stories worth reblogging.

Redditor plays Civilization II for 10 years, reveals humanity’s bleak future

Why TV marketers need to tune in to Reddit

Colbert hopes to conquer @Sweden

Etsy artist sells Nicolas Cage’s face for $12

Reddit bans “The Atlantic” and “Businessweek” in major anti-spam move

Overheard in the newsroom ( spare some Bitcoins? edition):

Lorraine M. Desperately trying to wake up. Lady Gaga/Judas Priest mashup might do it.
Lauren O. I suggest waking up with drugs. Worked for me!
Lorraine M. Can you upload them to Dropbox? All I’ve got here is crappy coffee. This is not a Starbucks household, alas.
Lauren O. Sure, just send me some bitcoins for compensation
Lorraine M. Isn’t that just for strippers?
You tuck the bitcoins into their CSS


Other Awesome Links! (a.k.a. random stuff we think is cool)
When I Get Fired — Editor Real Talk

Times-Picayune cuts half of newsroom staff; 3 Alabama newspapers announce 400 layoffs — Washington Post

An Amazing Story About How One Autistic Woman Fell In Love With Abed Nadir — Warming Glow / Uproxx

Dot Comics!
“Guess Which Dating Site They Met On” — Uncle Shappy’s Chuckle Parlour

Reply girls return: YouTube’s attempts to stop suggestive spam have failed

The reply girls are back.  

Old hands and newcomers alike are cleverly using tags and breasts to spam YouTube again, suggesting the Google-owned site’s attempts to arrest the broadly disapproved practice have failed.

A number of YouTube users caused a ruckus on the site earlier this year by replying to popular videos with spammy responses. Using the site’s tags and featuring aggressive cleavage allowed otherwise content-free videos to dominate related video queues. The practice, intended to generate advertising revenue for the reply girls, upset a lot of YouTubers at the time, and the reply girls’ return is sure to be highly unpopular.(cont.)

Reply girls return: YouTube’s attempts to stop suggestive spam have failed

The reply girls are back.

Old hands and newcomers alike are cleverly using tags and breasts to spam YouTube again, suggesting the Google-owned site’s attempts to arrest the broadly disapproved practice have failed.

A number of YouTube users caused a ruckus on the site earlier this year by replying to popular videos with spammy responses. Using the site’s tags and featuring aggressive cleavage allowed otherwise content-free videos to dominate related video queues. The practice, intended to generate advertising revenue for the reply girls, upset a lot of YouTubers at the time, and the reply girls’ return is sure to be highly unpopular.
(cont.)