SoundCloud’s Strange Sex Bot Spam Market

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
April 26, 2017

SoundCloud’s Strange Sex Bot Spam Market

If you’re a SoundCloud user it’s likely you’ve been at the receiving end of some peculiar sexual advances via the platform’s private message system.

Are they real people or are they just bot messages? Does anyone actually click the links? How much money do they make? These are just some of the questions you may have asked yourself after receiving a few of these strange messages.

I have personally received tens if not hundreds of these interesting sexual messages. Sometimes they even creep into actual tracks in the form of random comments, and I am not just talking about bots used to inflate SoundCloud likes, follows or reposts, but rather bots that target users with random and explicit sexual messages.

They are different breed from the promotion bots that message users or leave comments attempting to sign up users to SoundCloud services that sell fake followers, plays, likes and reposts. Yet they are just as annoying, clogging up the direct message feature with notification or worse even, adding stupid comments to your track or mix.

Worse even though, is the risk these sex spam messages pose to one’s own privacy and personal security. It is not unreasonable to consider how links within these messages could direct to sites which may hack personal and financial data (I have no idea if they do, I haven’t been stupid enough to check it out). Less aware and younger users of the site may be particularly vulnerable to this. Because let’s face it, while some of these direct messages and comments seem pretty legit (especially with such mastery of the English language), I want to stress and encourage users to have a hard think before clicking on links of a girl’s ass. Although we might all love to help Cherrie relieve some stress or assure Agatha that she has a sexy body, I also don’t want to you to have your identity or financial information stolen by the prick that is running her obviously legitimate (cough-cough) account.

All this brings to light another issue: there are users as young as 9 or 10 who are being sent sex spam messages, inappropriate content for someone that young. While it is understandable that users of any age have to accept the risks associated with using the World Wide Web, this should’t preclude SoundCloud from taking effective action in resolving something that has become a real problem for regular users of their platform.

Another big problem arises from this issue, with a lot of users reporting that a large number of their plays, likes and reposts are coming from SoundCloud bot accounts, some of which are the very same ones that send sex spam messages to users.

While more experienced users take the time to repost these spammers, SoundCloud hasn’t managed to get a real grip of the problem. The Sex Bot problem isn’t only limited to SoundCloud, but it leaves many wondering just how lucrative SoundCloud as a platform can be for the people behind all these fake accounts.

Could SoundCloud’s lack of effective action be the result of a conflict of interests?

Many users have taken to SoundCloud’s Help Community board and Reddit with their grievances to no avail. It may be that SoundCloud is simply having a hard time keeping up with all the fake accounts created and running on their site, or it may be as Redditor Hounmlayne points out:

“I feel this reason is why these bots exist. Imagine getting linked to a song where it’s had 5 views on the last 2 years and one comment which is just suggesting opinions on how to improve the song.

“Now imagine being linked to a song with a few thousand views I’m the past 6 months, with loads of comments saying how awesome it sounds, and just random stuff, as if it’s a community of fans behind the artist.

“You’re more likely to pay attention and listen to the more popular song, seeing as it must have some appeal for that interaction.”

In a research paper titled Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial Cultural Market, Mathew Salganik and his team of researchers detail how this may just be true: “In the study, a fake marketplace was created with over 14,000 participants able to download any song they wanted from it. Throughout the test, researchers manipulated ‘download numbers’ to show, falsely, that certain songs were more popular. When the numbers were inflated, more often than not, people chose to download that particular song just based off of perceived demand without even listening to it.”

The theory here is that while SoundCloud is certainly not behind the bots and has no secret motive to ensure those accounts exist, they may not be pressed for time to find an effective and lasting solutions. Talks of the company being bought out by the likes of Spotify could also mean that the developers at SoundCloud are focusing on other efforts and leaving incoming new management to take over the resolution of the problem if and once the company is bought out.

Until SoundCloud finds a workable solution for this problem I suggest that you practice abstinence and ignore it. That is unless you’re unable to resist and really want to see Tamie’s naked photos… and in that case I always suggest wearing an online condom.

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