Facebook Messenger has been recommending fake porn clickbait bots


Facebook Messenger has been recommending bots that send you sexually suggestive photos and videos. The bots, however, may not send you porn; instead, they fire off links about the advantages of starting an online business or the importance of marketing strategy.

When reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said they’re working to remove bots in violation of Messenger platform community standards.

To find bots featured by Messenger staff, open Messenger and tap the search bar. Below your favorite people and recent searches you will see a series of 12-20 bots. These fake porn clickbait bots are featured alongside names like Yahoo News, travel search bot Hipmunk, and a bot to promote the new Power Rangers movie.

“Featured bots are surfaced by a combination of algorithms that detect the most highly engaged bots along with some curation from our team to surface new and interesting experiences,” Facebook said in a statement shared with VentureBeat. “When a bot or its content is found to violate our Community Standards, it is immediately removed from the platform and in this case, the bot appeared as a result of the algorithm. We have reviewed our current featured bots and are in the process of/have removed any that are found to be in violation from our platform and will continue to monitor for any additional instances.”

Each of the bots, with names like Naveira Rana and Ghulam Fatima, appear to be created with Chatfuel‘s simple bot maker. Send them a message and you won’t hear back for a while, but when you do you’ll get a link to pornographic image with a play button on top of it. They look like videos but end up being clickbait.

The bots were first brought to VentureBeat’s attention by Shane Gau, founder of Qwazou, who said he began to see the bots in the featured area of Messenger about a month ago. Gau said he regularly peruses the bot recommendation drawer in order to surface cool new bots. In addition to clickbait, Gau said bots featured by Messenger have sent him actual pornographic videos, however all bots VentureBeat interacted with directed all mouse clicks to a marketing website.

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