GPT-powered spam

Wherever there is a website that allows user comments, there is comment spam. The problem is fairly old and something even regular blog owners like myself need to deal with.

The idea is: a computer program adds comments with links to some website that makes money – by selling something or by showing advertisements. Having links to said website helps the website’s ranking on search engines, because they use links as one of the signals for relevance.

The comments are usually fairly obvious. Here’s one I got 10 days ago:

Russian name? ✔︎
With a misleading homepage? ✔︎
Generic comment? ✔︎
On a bad joke post from 9 years ago? ✔︎

Nobody falls for that.

But this week I got a bunch of interesting new spam comments:

Wow! These almost look like a human read the blog post and had relevant feedback. There are still many obvious giveaways, of course, starting with the fact that they came from “someone” using the same email address all within 4 minutes. But I do think this is an interesting escalation in the never ending arms race between legitimate website owners and evildoers.

The thing about all this amazing ML-powered AI technology like Chat-GPT and other similar tools is that they have huge potential to benefit society, but they also have huge potential for misuse. The misuse always comes faster. We saw what misinformation and propaganda can do in the last two U.S. Presidential elections. Just you wait to see how the next one goes, given that LLMs and image generation tools are readily available and add to that how poorly important Social Media platforms are being managed. Buckle up.

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