Pinterest’s popularity might be starting to draw the interest of potential spammers and certainly those using bots.

Last night I got a new follower request to my Pinterest account. Like many users, I kept the default notification settings and get an email each time someone follows my account or specific pin boards.

In this case, the account in question had 6,000+ followers.  This isn’t that uncommon with Pinterest.  Many early adopters as well as those on Pinterest’s recommendation list have ten of thousands and in some case hundreds of thousands of followers.

But this Pinterest account was following over 500,000 accounts and only had one pin board. I checked the account an hour later and he was following close to 700,000 accounts.

Auto Follow Bot Exploits Pinterest

Those of you familiar with Twitter likely have to deal with automated accounts following you on an almost daily basis.  Twitter thankfully limits the number of follows any new account can request at 2,000. Pinterest apparently has no limits. In Pinterest’s case, their automatically generated emails allow you to follow back with one click, so this mass follow approach, as of this morning, had netted over 15,000 followers.  And the account is now following over one million Pinterest accounts.

 

The account, as of the time this is being posted, is still active and following accounts.

Pinterest has gone beyond its initial audience and needs to institute some type of limits. The fact that in one day, a new account could follow at least 600,000 accounts and most likely over 1 million, is a serious issue that needs to be addressed long term.

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9 Responses to The guy who followed over 1,000,000 people on Pinterest in the past 24 hours.

  1. avatar Nick Cobb says:

    The account has now been banned.

  2. avatar Josh Davis says:

    Thanks for the update Nick. For a while, I really thought Pinterest was just going to let the account stand as it was.

    • avatar Nick Cobb says:

      No problem. :) Good investigative work on your part. I think you may have gotten their attention… at least someone did, anyway.

      • avatar Josh Davis says:

        With the popularity of Pinterest and the craziness of one million follows, I figured someone else would pick up on the story, but I never did see any other coverage.

  3. avatar Cathy says:

    Thanks!!!! NOW I CANT FOLLOW ANYONE ELSE! I am very active on the site and follow alot of people, now the site says I am following the max number of users, it does not even offer a way to unfollow just the inactive users so I can add active users like myself!!! I tried to google an answer on how to fix this and all I found was your post…. I am sure you were trying to help and making a valid point, but you just totally killed my pinterest fun!

    • avatar Josh Davis says:

      Hi Cathy,

      I would love to think that one of my blog posts could influence Pinterest, but I think it is more likely that the extreme nature of one user following one million accounts and thus generating hundreds of thousands of emails, is the more likely cause.

      Can I ask how many accounts you are following on Pinterest and what the limit now is?

      Josh

  4. avatar cathy says:

    I follow 4600. I looked after posting my comment and was in shock it was that many. But I also have 1500 following me.my boards are always active. I just hope they change it to a person by person bases because without active pinners and followers there would be no pinerest.I do under stand there are concerns but surely there is another way to solve the problem other than limiting how many you can follow.

    • avatar Josh Davis says:

      Thanks for sharing that Cathy. I understand especially on Pinterest, that you can effectively follow more people than on most services, so I could see the limit being a problem for extremely active users.

      It appears that Pinterest is using a 1:3 ratio to cap following (i.e. an individual can follow three times the number of people who follow her account). I imagine this only starts at a certain number, as new users wouldn’t have anyone following them.

      I know Pinterest doesn’t offer the best support, but you could try emailing them and see what they say.

  5. avatar Cathy says:

    Thank you so much for the advice and in the information. I have looked everywhere trying to find some information on how many people I am allowed to follow, I have even submitted a question to pinterest, but they have not answered yet. At least now I know it is not a set limit and the 3 to one 1 ratio is understandable, I just wish they would maybe increase it a little. Thank you for time.