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Spam on BIC

Hi BIC,

 

As you have likely noticed, the Community has been inundated with an exceedingly high volume of spam posts. We are aware of this issue and working hard behind the scenes to fix this. We know these posts can truly impact your experience here, and we appreciate everyone who has sent our team messages on this issue. Our goal is to maintain this safe space where you can all share and read about all things beauty – we’re so sorry this spam is getting in the way of that!

 

Please know that this is a huge priority for us and we are working to prevent this from happening in the future. We will share updates as soon as we have them. In the meantime, please know that our team and tech partners are on it!

 

-TeamBIC

Re: RE: Spam on BIC

It’s too much of a burden to place on forum users to continuously report this kind of spam. The sheer volume will drive people away.

BIC should have a technical solution for deleting these automated posts. 

Re: RE: Spam on BIC

@trishavt  I agree, you can’t even keep up with it. For every one you delete, 5 more pop up. 

Re: RE: Spam on BIC

@UCLAGirl  Posts typically do disappear once you mark them as spam, but the size of these posts are too large I think. This is the first time I've ever had an issue with using that function, and I use it daily.

Re: RE: Spam on BIC

@UCLAGirl 

The real issue is the volume that the board allowed in the first place...some nights had over 1000 posts, and that should never have happened. There needs to be a front-end measure stopping most of it from showing up at all, instead of just relying on us to clean it up after the fact. I mark spam every night, but the usual volume is more like 20 or so posts, and while I get minorly annoyed with it, I don't mind. The flood in question though...that was way more than a minor annoyance. The spam button was prone to erroring out on the Chinese/Korean stuff instead of working, and the speed and volume of posts made it impossible for the community to clean it up without staff assistance.  

Re: RE: Spam on BIC

I had no idea there were that many posts. Once I saw two pages full of spam, I left the website. I did come back a few times during the weekend, but I assumed that I was looking the same two pages

Re: RE: Spam on BIC

The spam account kept leveling up, that's how many posts. Mark as spam was completely unusable. A lot of us were getting the entity too large error when we tried.

Re: RE: Spam on BIC

Ohhh thats what that was! I tried to report as spam and then had no access to the website the entire day, I was so upset because it worked on my laptop but my phone was totally messed up!

Re: Spam on BIC

Oh no! Tell me it isn't starting again tonight. Help @TeamBIC!

Re: Spam on BIC

Thank you for the update @TeamBIC . The spam is really getting out of hand so I'm glad to see it's being addressed Smiley Happy.

Re: Spam on BIC

Appreciate the update @TeamBIC  I can't imagine how stressful and annoying yesterday was!  

Re: Spam on BIC

Thanks for letting us know, @TeamBIC. Appreciate your efforts to address the spam that has inundated the site recently.

Re: Spam on BIC

Thank you @TeamBIC ! It's certainly been like whack-a-mole with spam, appreciate everything you're doing Smiley Happy 

Re: Spam on BIC

Thank you for fixing it @TeamBIC  It is a relief to see forum back to its normal form.

Re: Spam on BIC

@TeamBIC Thank you so much for fixing this issue. 

Spam on BIC

thanks so much @TeamBIC always on it!

Re: Spam on BIC

@TeamBIC How about filtering all non-latin alphabet characters and treating them like a "bad word"?  Idk what the legal ramifications but the system is already in place to filter "bad words".  Perhaps there's some common denominator in all the posts you could ban, like Chinese or Korean for "buy" "sell" "click" "follow".

Re: Spam on BIC

@itscarin  If the spam was all in French, and certain French words/phrases were banned (but were still permitted in English), I think quite a few folks in Canada would complain, let alone France. Yeah, I realize such a ban would probably never happen, considering Sephora’s history 😂, but still: any exclusion based on an entire language seems unfair. 

 

Even with such a language filter, Sephora would have to keep adding languages to the ban list as spammers retranslate their crap. If Asian languages were banned, spammers could just switch to Scandinavian languages. Then those would have to be banned, and spammers would switch to Arabic or Amharic or Farsi, etc... Sure, Sephora could just ban all languages except English (and French, I guess), but that excludes some of the most widely internationally spoken languages (Spanish, Arabic, etc.) and still seems unfair to me. I get where you’re coming from. I just hope this spam problem can be resolved in a way such that languages don’t need to be excluded. 

Re: Spam on BIC

@WinglessOneIt's definitely not ideal but the spam keeps coming!  :/  I hear what you're saying about a slippery slope, and I wouldn't want to be discriminatory.  I would only use it as a stop gap until a better solution is found.  All the spam is turning me off, and because the ads are so poorly targeted, I'm inclined to believe they're not really trying to sell fake diplomas or whatever various things they've been hawking.  I believe they're more interested in disrupting the boards than actually making sales. 

 

I'm not always an 'ends justify the means' person, but this is an example where I think the ends would justify the means.  Only because I believe no one would actually be effected by the means other than the spammer.  If there was a robust community of people using whatever-language, then I would give this more pause.  However, I really do not believe anyone is using these languages on this board for anything other than spamming.  I checked some of the korean beauty threads, and while they have images of korean, they don't have actual text, therefore people would still be able to post their screenshots from instagram and be unaffected.

 

The spam attacks aren't about selling products as much as they are about hurting the community/Sephora.

Re: Spam on BIC

I totally understand your pov @itscarin! I also really, really want to see BIC spam-free. I do think however, that intention and consequences aside, the very act of targeting two specific languages for a ban is discriminatory. We can have actions that are not discriminatory in intent, but are still exclusionary in nature and I believe that in and of itself has a negative, potentially alienating effect. So this also hurts BIC in my eyes. To me, it is not a desirable solution to implement an objectionable policy that actually goes against what BIC stands for, which is to be open and welcoming to members of all backgrounds.

 

Also as @WinglessOne points out, it’s just unnecessary when there are other solutions, like freezing the account of anyone who makes too many posts in quick succession. If we want to be pragmatic about this and leave other concerns out of the picture, there are other solutions which would have the added benefit of preventing spam of any language and could possibly even free us from the responsibility of cleaning up individual spam posts daily? If the situation is so dire we must act now, I agree with what other BIC members have proposed, which is to freeze new accounts from posting here until a longer-term solution is implemented.

Re: Spam on BIC

@pocketvenus  @itscarin  I really doubt a language ban would be effective anyway. I’m not an online security expert but I work with several of them on a regular basis, and I’ve worked in the internet/digital design/user experience field for 23 years. All a language ban would do is make the spammers translate their spam to a different language and relaunch their bots. We’d still have the spam flood problem. It’d just be in English.

 

It might even still prevent us from reporting spam, if the jerk behind it figured out how to pad English messages to make them complex enough to clog our browsers and Sephora/Lithium’s servers. 

 

But yeah, as I said earlier, I just can’t get behind a language ban. Well, unless it’s a code language ban 😂 —I’m kinda surprised the html option is still available on this Reply to Post page. I’ve never used it here at BIC, but now I wonder how much code is allowed vs. what we can do via the rich text option. Hmm. 

Re: Spam on BIC

@itscarin  Oh, the spam definitely seems to be more for disruption than sales. I said in another thread that this spam flood kinda feels like a DoS (denial of service) attack, though usually the jerks behind such an attack have a motive beyond “haha, let’s annoy everyone on this beauty forum, that’d be awesome!” 😂 I still wonder what’s driving the folks behind this flood... I assume it’s not disrupting the Sephora.com buy flow or product pages at all (thank goodness this crap isn’t happening on the review section of product pages). I’ve seen spam floods on plenty of other forums, but I don’t understand why someone would bother attacking this particular forum this way for no reason other than, I dunno, they’re bored or really hate lipstick (blasphemy!) or something. 😂 

 

I realize folks don’t usually use Chinese or Korean in BIC, at least not that I’ve noticed. I also haven’t noticed much Spanish, no Russian or Arabic or Japanese—the only languages I often (or semi-often) see here are English and French. So sure, Sephora could ban all other languages for a while. Once the spam flood switches to the 2 allowed languages, I guess maybe Sephora will have stronger anti spam measures in place to stop them. 🤷‍♀️ I still think there are better methods. 

 

It’s not the language of the spam that bothers me, or the inability to report the spam (ok that’s kinda annoying, but even if I could report, it’d still appear in my feed—and I suspect making people’s browsers churn on complex spam messages is a calculated part of the attack). It’s the volume and frequency of spam that bothers me. It could be in English and reportable, and I’d still be aggravated by this much spam posted this frequently. 

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