The popularity of Twitter attracts more and more spammers. Spammers send unwanted tweets to Twitter users to promote websites or services, which are harmful to normal users. In order to stop spammers, researchers have proposed a number of mechanisms. The focus of recent works is on the application of machine learning techniques into Twitter spam detection. However, tweets are retrieved in a streaming way, and Twitter provides the Streaming API for developers and researchers to access public tweets in real time. There lacks a performance evaluation of existing machine learning-based streaming spam detection methods. In this paper, we bridged the gap by carrying out a performance evaluation, which was from three different aspects of data, feature, and model. A big ground-truth of over 600 million public tweets was created by using a commercial URL-based security tool. For real-time spam detection, we further extracted 12 lightweight features for tweet representation. Spam detection was then transformed to a binary classification problem in the feature space and can be solved by conventional machine learning algorithms. We evaluated the impact of different factors to the spam detection performance, which included spam to nonspam ratio, feature discretization, training data size, data sampling, time-related data, and machine learning algorithms. The results show the streaming spam tweet detection is still a big challenge and a robust detection technique should take into account the three aspects of data, feature, and model.
Field of Research
080303 Computer System Security
Socio Economic Objective
970108 Expanding Knowledge in the Information and Computing Sciences
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