Finding Spam on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

At this point, Amazon Mechanical Turk has reached the mainstream. Pretty much everyone knows about the concept. Post small tasks online, pay people cents, and get thousands of micro-tasks completed.
Unfortunately, this resulted in some unfortunate trends. Anyone who frequents just a little bit the market will notice the tremendous number of spammy HITs. (HIT = a task posted for completion in the market; stands for Human Intelligence Task.) Test if the ads in my website work”. “Create a Twitter account and follow me”. “Like my YouTube video”. “Download this app”. “Write a positive review on Yelp”. A seemingly endless amount of spam HITs come to the market, mainly with the purpose of spamming “social media” metrics.

via Mechanical Turk: Now with 40.92% spam. – A Computer Scientist in a Business School.

Article points out that spammers tend to pay too much and only assign one HIT per request. Comments reveal that workers on MT can be relatively sophisticated in detecting spam, often wary of requests that seem too good to be true. So, if you’re thinking about using Mechanical Turk to get some work done, keep in mind that the request should offer a reasonable fee and include multiple HITs.