2007. MIT Media Lab.
Is Britney Spears Spam? is an investigation in redefining spam and the role of the spam filter in the context of Social Networking Services (SNS). Users of these sites risk being overwhelmed with unsolicited communications not just from e-mail spammers, but also from a large pool of well intending, yet subjectively uninteresting people.
Those who wish to remain open to meeting new people must spend a large amount of time estimating deception and utility in unknown contacts. Our goal is to assist the user in making these determinations. This requires identifying clear cases of undesirable spam and helping them to assess the more ambiguous ones. Our approach is to present an analysis of the salient features of the sender’s profile and network that contains otherwise hard to perceive cues about their likely intentions.
As with traditional spam analysis, much of our work focuses on detecting deception: finding profiles that mimic ordinary users but which are actually commercial and usually undesirable entities. We address this within the larger context of making more legible the key cues presented by any unknown contact.
We have developed a research prototype that categorizes senders into broader categories than spam/not spam using features unique to SNS.