May 19, 2022

Conference Paper: “Examining the Demand for Spam: Who Clicks?”

The following paper will be presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2018) taking place next month in Montreal.


Examining the Demand for Spam: Who Clicks?


Brian Waismeyer
Facebook Research

Elissa M. Redmiles
University of Maryland

Neha Chachra
Facebook Research


via Facebook Research


Despite significant advances in automated spam detection, some spam content manages to evade detection and engage users. While the spam supply chain is well understood through previous research, there is little understanding of spam consumers. We focus on the demand side of the spam equation examining what drives users to click on spam via a largescale analysis of de-identified, aggregated Facebook log data (n=600,000).

We find (1) that the volume of spam and clicking norms in a users’ network are significantly related to individual consumption behavior; (2) that more active users are less likely to click, suggesting that experience and internet skill (weakly correlated with activity level) may create more savvy consumers; and (3) we confirm previous findings about the gender effect in spam consumption, but find this effect largely corresponds to spam topics. Our findings provide practical insights to reduce demand for spam content, thereby affecting spam profitability.

Direct to Full Text Paper (10 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.