Digging into Facebook ads: finding clues that indicate a scam pattern

Andrei Cristian Serbanoiu Bitdefender

Social media advertising, increasing click-through rates and targeting specific audiences have never been more critical for companies and their marketing departments. In the last couple of years, Facebook has gone through a metamorphosis. This brought changes in ad policy and features and transformed the network from a 'college' communication channel to a business medium for impactful campaigns.

The downside of this evolution came with an increasing number of scams promoted through Facebook ads and a lot of users complaining about their aggressiveness. Based on a six-month analysis, this paper focuses primarily on a scam assessment model for Facebook ads. We dig for clues and spam patterns replicated in these personalized commercials.

Furthermore, we analyse the distribution of topics (weight loss, replica watches, work-at-home scams etc.), then the attributes the ads share with spam. This presentation also shows the shortcomings of Facebook ad policy enforcement through examples.

VB2013 takes place 2-4 October 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

The full programme for VB2013, including abstracts for each paper, can be viewed here.

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