Use the Power of Your Social Circles to Block SPAM!

by Fred von Graf on November 25, 2009

I would love to see someone develop this!  I would be willing to help if someone were serious about making this happen.

The idea is to use the combined wisdom of your friends to block spammers.  The idea could certainly be expanded beyond simple user blocking but that’s the main thing I want at this time.  By setting different levels of trust you would be able to automatically filter spammers from say your Twitter feed or any communications channel really.  The key to this working is having a centralized database, open API and enough of your friends on board.  Since most people act either in their own interest or the interest of those they care about, getting people to act would probably not be difficult.  The central database aspect may be a bit more difficult but if the person or company that did this were open and transparent in their actions it would work.   The open API is essential so all the different clients could adopt it and use it.

Basically you use an old CIA model for data / information trust.  You would use a  matrix that was based on spheres of trust and shared trust.  You would identify people you trust based on a grading system or spheres of trust.  The farther out from the center the less reliable the trust, similar to the old A, B, C, D, F grades as well.  So you identify people you trust directly, those people would also rate people they trust and you can put people in different grades based on trust.  Then as applications (twitter clients, facebook, email, etc) start using the open API they could ad a simple button, or pulldown to let people grade others.  If you have a scum bag spammer that keeps sending you junk, you mark them, then your friends who trust you would know and if (depending on the algorithm) you and one other person marked messages from xyz as spam or adult, or whatever category, you could decide to have some action like delete it, performed based on your friends wisdom.

Then over time and the more people that are added the weighted averages for respective people would be used to determine actions, such as block messages from xyz person.  The power of the crowd would be used for good and applications could take advantage of this meta social network to help filter content.

General thought dump:

– You trust your friends

– Your friends say someone is a spammer (higher trust)

– Strangers say same person is a spammer (more are needed to be trusted)

– Weighted system that allows you to put trust levels on groups (friends, family, strangers, etc)

– Based on weight you set, spammers are put on a black list or Friends on white lists

– Public lists could be created at first until you have enough trusted friends to created weighted values over time

– Open API so all the different services and clients can integrate it

– Central database to track all the Spammers / whatever (DB architecture would need to be open to allow other uses)

– Potentially monetize by selling subscription to the data for corporations

This is still a rough thought but I wanted to share it with you and get some feedback.  What do you think?  Is anyone already working on this or something similar?  Wouldn’t you want to use the power of your friends to help?

Photo Credit: Sarah G…

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