Public Launch Brings Flood of Spam to Some Google+ Users

Google+ opened to the public on Tuesday and already the Facebook competitor has experienced an estimated 30% growth based on some estimates. But with that growth has come spam and harassment.

In theory, Google's real-name policy is supposed to create a safer environment where users will be protected, but some high-profile members have reported an increasing amount of spam and even harassing messages.

"Noticed a higher volume of creepy, trolly, sexually inappropriate, or spammy interactions on G+, then remembered: ahhh. Open admission now. That explains it," Xeni Jardin, co-founder of BoingBoing writes on Google+. "A few of them today were "private shares" from strangers, with unwanted content. Seems to be a common tactic. While I don't mean to over-dramatize it, even the metaphor for the interaction is unsettling: a stranger "circling" you alone to give you a virtual grope. Eww."

On Aug. 17, Xeni wrote that she was done with public posts for a while after "an unpleasant thing happened that made this space feel too hostile and like too much of a pain in the ass. Sharing with folks I know only for a while."

UPDATE: "We have years of experience combating online and email spam and we're leveraging that experience and technology in Google+," a Google spokesperson told LAUNCH in an email. However, the company reactively responds to spammers and others violating the companies policies through user submitted complaints. 

Google+'s user content and conduct policy forbids both hate speech and spam. User's can report this type of activity through the "Report Abuse" button on the top right corner of each post.

Tech blogger/pundit Robert Scoble posted a set of guidelines for commenting on his posts just yesterday, mentioning that he has had to delete more than 9K comments because they were nasty, added no value to the conversation or were written in a foreign language.

Tech personality Chris Pirillo posted a screen shot of a spammer he caught through his stream. "She" was repeatedly posting a product tohelp you lose weight and look good naked.

Valeria Maltoni, business strategist and Principal of Conversion Agent LLC, said she saw an increase in spam and she was even being tagged in random photos that had nothing to do with her.

But other members like Tom Anderson, founder of Myspace, reported only a little more spam -- about three to four spam posts per 100.

Have you noticed an increase in spam on Google+ or received harassing messages? Please email tips at LAUNCH dot is.


Xeni Jardin
Twitter: @xenijardin 

Robert Scoble
Twitter: @Scobleizer 

Chris Pirillo
Twitter: @ChrisPirillo 

Valeria Maltoni
Twitter: @valeriamaltoni 

Tom Anderson
Twitter: @myspacetom