Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova

Committee Co-Chair

Saiph Savage

Committee Member

YanFang Ye


This thesis explores various factors that influence whether or not users of social media platforms will interact with spam. The research is based on using survey and experimental approaches. The survey looked at several spam related behaviors: ability to identify spam, tendency to interact with spam, and tendency to report spam. In total 256 responses were analyzed, which were collected by an online survey system. Results of the survey show that education about spam did not correlate with changes in behavior, even when users reported that the education had an effect on them. Several other factors, commonly thought to be related to interaction with spam, such as technical background, also showed little correlation to spam related behaviors. It was also found that users tend to have similar behaviors for social media spam and email spam. The experiment involved sending mock spam messages to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter users. 1,200 messages per social media platform were sent. The factors studied were: social media platform, message content, matching the message content to the sending profile, and method of selecting message content. The experimental results showed that overall the highest interaction rate was on Twitter and the lowest was on Facebook. Matching the sender's profile to the content of the messages sent and matching the content of spam to recipient interests did not lead to higher interaction rates than randomly selected messages and sending profiles. Additionally, news related spam distributed on Twitter was most effective in tricking users.