Facebook Polls – Study or Spam?

The blog Uncov had an article this weekend about spam showing up in Facebook’s poll system, mocking Facebook as a site that foolishly let people pay for polls rather than advertisements to have them show up more prominently on a user’s page. Today, the first such poll found its way onto my page, and it seemed to be the exact same sort of spam:

Dating poll

The problem with allowing anybody to poll Facebook users is this: done correctly, it lets surveyors quickly assess a variety of people, for pinpoint researching. If abused, however, it just serves to more users complaining about the poll system, which is never a good thing for Facebook.

This could be a problem, considering there aren’t quick solutions to the spam. Facebook could introduce a filter for URLs, but that would lead to quick, obvious circumventions of the filter, just as happens in email spam. They could moderate every poll before release, but that would slow down the system considerably. There’s not much chance that they will drop their poll system entirely: it’s too well-placed for Facebook to get rid of.

On the bright side, this sort of spam is less intrusive than random friend requests and messages, like the kind MySpace has. On the downside, this makes Facebook’s feeds seem even more unreliable for users.

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