Facebook is a major breeding ground for spam, and according to new research, spammers are averaging around $200 million per year on the social network.
This research came from a group of security researchers based in Italy, and they analyzed hundreds of thousands of posts.
The word “free” was one of many common keywords searched for, and they also analyzed Facebook pages setup by spammers who tried tricking people into clicking deceptive links.
Most URLs were hidden behind short URL services Bit.ly or Tinyurl.com, and about nine percent of links lead to pages containing Google Adsense.
From Carlo De Micheli, a leader of the research group:
The spam posters get paid an average of $13 per post, for pages that have around 30,000 fans, up to an average of $58 to post on pages with more than 100,000 fans. If we consider these two as extremes, the pages we analysed generate a revenue of 18,000 posts per day, times the revenue per post – ranging from $13 to $58 – 365 days a year.
This all adds up to total earnings anywhere from $87 million to $390 million. However, the researchers came to an average of around $200 million per year.
Facebook isn’t the only social network where spammers are profiting. Earlier this month, the International Computer Science Institute found that a select few Twitter scammers earned upwards of $500,000 in a 10-month period.