Is Flickr under attack by spam?

Has anyone else noticed an increase of spam comments on Flickr lately? I noticed my first spam comment there only last week, complained about it, and the comment and user were both deleted shortly afterwards. I thought nothing more of it.

This morning I got an unwelcome shock when I checked my Flickr comments through Bloglines. More spam comments. There’s a screenshot below. When I clicked through to the photos in question both comments had been deleted but later on another spam comment appeared and I now suspect any comment left by users with usernames starting with “a” with a mixture of upper and lower case characters and digits. Maybe it’s time they invested in an Akismet license for Flickr.com? Thanks Lloyd for the reminder!

flickr-spam.jpg

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Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

20 thoughts on “Is Flickr under attack by spam?”


  1. Depressing, isn’t it? There’s nowhere that spammers won’t strike if they can, and they don’t care what kind of damage they do or how much of other people’s time they waste. It’s an attitude that makes them unfit to live in society.

    While I can’t support the death penalty for spamming, I’m open to mandatory exile to an isolated uninhabited island somewhere. Let them spend their remaining days talking about cheap prescription drugs, porn and poker to each other.


    1. I have a very big vendetta against spammers, which explains my aggressive attitude towards them. I hate it when they make fake accounts and post blatant porn in a forum, with explicit images and all them nasty stuff.

      I just want this madness and indecency of theirs to stop once and for all!


  2. I haven’t noticed any spam on my Flickr account but I sure am happy about the job Akismet is doing for my Word Press blog.


  3. Well, flickr is a service of yahoo, and yahoo is the number one company delivering spam in my mailbox. I’m not surprised.


  4. Not only that they are spamming in the comments, some of them are abusing the tagging system. I have subscribed various of tag feeds on Flickr, and sometimes there are totally unrelated images in the feed. Tens and hundreds of them every time. :(

    Sad.


  5. Last weeks I noticed a increase of visitors in the first photo. In one day i had 1000 visitors. Its impossible. I was using flickr badge. With flickr plugin, the visitor number came to 100/day. My normal is 14/day.

    Something is wrong.


  6. Donncha, I agree with Rob up there.

    And my little twisted mind (I blame drmike, I was innocent until posting with him) here’s the problem I see with spam.

    Spammers are scum, and I don’t deny that.

    Their principle is to make money, as we all know, so they exploit whatever system is available to make a buck. In this day and age, it’s web spam. Email, comments, splogs, whatever. No different than junk mail in the ol postbox, delivered spot on by the local post. They’ve just turned digital instead.

    Now here’s where my view gets twisted.

    What’s worse? The person who sees a whole and exploits it, or the people that are obviously in desperate need of removal from the gene pool because they’re clicking and buying this crap? After all this time, all the news and media about spam online hasn’t sunk into the heads of some of these idiots. They still click away.

    If there wasn’t a profit in it, there wouldn’t be spammers.

    It’s also something that won’t stop until the highest level bandwidth providers step in and take charge. I don’t see it happening. Imagine a top tier provider squashing connectivity to a hub because the company leasing the bandwidth wasn’t controlling their spam? Think the lower level compliance would fall in line pretty quick? Too bad we’ll never see it.

    So, we come full circle. Do we “hang” the person exploiting the “hole”, or the person whom creates it? I say both. Disinfect the gene pool for future generations. :D


  7. Death is too good for these spamming scumbags! I work for an email provider and we get pummelled every day, my blog gets spamf*cked almost constantly AND now they’re targeting flickr? Something really needs to be done about these people, they’re ruining the internet for the rest of us!

    (also, people that allow their machines to be compromised should be punished, as should the people that make the operating systems!)


  8. I spoke too soon, got my first comment spam. But Flickr does seem to be getting on top of it. The user was deleted before I even got the chance to report it.


  9. I haven’t noticed an increase in spam on Flickr, but I have noticed a huge increase in spam in the comments of my blogs. And, lately, they’ve been spamming the contact pages of several sites I run. As much as I hate them, I’m finding that I’m going to have to start installing those graphic letter things. In some ways, it almost makes me want to disallow comments, except from approved, registered users.


  10. More and more I get the impression that spammers aren’t actually out to make a buck (there seems to be so many out there the market must be totally… er, hopefully… fragmented by now). Making money is just a happy sideline. It’s more like low and noisy form of human communication. It’s the idea of talking to as many people as possible but then not actually having anything much to say, so filling the space with adspeak and general rubbish. I dunno, I think Spam is developing into a new language of its own creation.


  11. I haven’t gotten any spam on Flickr, but yesterday I had about ten blog-comments get past Akismet. That was the first time any such had EVER gotten through since I activated Akismet. Sigh.


  12. Well I would point to a few points:

    1. Yahoo doesn’t seem to take spam very serious.
    2. I suspect a large number of spam attacks are denial of service attacks, I have noticed a lot of people getting emails concerning a desire to share child porn. 30,000 of these will result in 10,000 abuse claims to an already swamped customer care division. The filter system, with people being reviewed and marked safe, and the new China Flickr coming a week after the Filters is just the kind of target your radical hack activist can’t refuse.
    3. If you site is marked as unsafe or restricted by Flickr admins not only can you show all the porn you want, but you won’t get spammed.

    I assume with Yahoo’s China policy and the fact that all Flickr accounts are now reviewed by Flickr staff people will continue to try and exploit the system with spams which they know will result in abuse claims. Abuse claims flood the already taxed review system which causes Yahoo accounts to be deleted which then leads to more Yahoo accounts that mean more accounts need to be reviewed.

    I am not a hacker, I would rather make than destroy, but if I was in to trying to spam down a site I would find it very hard to resist trying to set the filtering reporting system off in Flickr and bringing her down.

    I am sure most of it is people spamming to try and make money, but I have seen forum comments about mass spams of such a disgusting nature that I can only assume someone is trying to use the system of user reporting of abuse and filtering to bring it down.


  13. Ok, I need someones help. I googles my bfs email address, and to my shock and horror it came up on a comment under flickr. It was a perverse comment about a groupl of younger girls in a sleep over. Every comment on that innocent picture was disgusting, so I found that odd. Naturally I freaked out and attacked him, but he denies it and even deleted his own email account(it was a person one) Is there apossibility that it was not him. And no, knowbody else knows his pw tomy knowledge. thank you please help me.


  14. I’ve been on flickr for 3 years and I just got my first two spam comments. Oddly enough, they were one right after another on the same picture….?????


  15. Dear Flickr users. Here is a Flickr spammer who is also a photographer with 20 years’ experience who is writing these lines.

    And here is an argument why spam happens at Flickr.

    It is there, because you ARE there. You never supported any other start-up, since you received such a BIG and apparently POWERFUL tool as Flickr. You even bring your money to it. Many good sites wait for visitors, but

    You didn’t even look for any substitute.

    Some people HAVE to spam you for various reasons. It is life, after all.

    It is easily done when you ARE all at one place.

    Go elsewhere, support those who only begin and you will find out that the play was worth the candles.

    When I register an account at Yahoo, it immediately offers me somebody’s emails to send a message to on the next page. Flickr belongs to Yahoo. They will pretend fighting spam, but in reality, they did everything to make spammer’s work easier at Flickr.


    1. If you really have 20 years of experience and you really did a good job at that I don’t think you need to spam. Otherwise, those 20 years was worthless. People fall people learn don’t blame someone else you can’t change anything you can only change your self.

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