Fake Social Notifications

Fake Social Notifications are a type of spam that deceives users with false social activities and information. This includes digital services sending messages on behalf of a user or communicating a social activity of another person that the user does not follow. These tactics can take advantage of our herd instinct bias, which makes us more likely to replicate others’ actions, as well as the spotlight effect, which leads us to perform behaviors that elicit social approval.

Example: FarmVille

Games like FarmVille impersonate other players by communicating actions they never performed, thus misleading the player about the activities of their friends in the game. These types of games may also send invitations to join a community to the player’s friends by spamming all the player’s contacts through messages that claim to be from the player.

Example: Twitter

On social networks like Twitter, users may receive notifications such as “user x just tweeted after a while.” Similarly, some instant messaging applications broadcast messages like “user x just joined, say hello,” encouraging users to interact with more people on the platform.