Spam is back

The Outline:

For a while, spam — unsolicited bulk messages sent for commercial or fraudulent purposes — seemed to be fading away. The 2003 CAN-SPAM Act mandated unsubscribe links in email marketing campaigns and criminalized attempts to hide the sender’s identity, while sophisticated filters on what were then cutting-edge email providers like Gmail buried unwanted messages in out-of-sight spam folders. In 2004, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates told a crowd at the World Economic Forum that “two years from now, spam will be solved.”

But it’s 2017, and spam has clawed itself back from the grave. It shows up on social media and dating sites as bots hoping to lure you into downloading malware or clicking an affiliate link. It creeps onto your phone as text messages and robocalls that ring you five times a day about luxury cruises and fictitious tax bills.

I’m sure many Loop readers will say they have few issues with spam but that’s probably because we’re tech savvy enough to take measures to avoid it. But average users are not so lucky.



  • Heos Phorus

    I guess, apple-users are generally less afflicted by spam. Maybe users of „free“ services should be made more aware of the fact that there is no free lunch.

    On the other hand, apple-users are often targeted with inflated prices when shopping online, because our online-fingerprints flag us as someone who is more willing to spend money on things.

  • And it frequently shows up in Disqus comments. 😉

    • John Kordyback

      I know exactly what you mean, it drives me crazy.

      Mind you I don’t know whether you’ve really considered the advantages of owning a really fine set of modern encyclopedias? You know, they can really do you wonders.

    • very often on this very site, oddly. more than i see on other disqus comments.

    • I’m aware I’m getting a lot of spam email, but thanks to my filtering there I rarely see anything. Disqus, on the other hand, is gross. It’s like the biblical burning bush, only made out of a dumpster: it burns, but is never consumed. It’s an infected boil on the anus of the Internet.