Pinterest Deleting Pins and Accounts in War Against Spam

Deleted Pin
If you were running Pinterest, what would you do to clean up spam on the site?

It seems that the Pinterest team’s answer includes deleting spam pins and dummy accounts.

We can see this by exploiting a couple of bugs in the Pinterest code.

Let’s look at an example. Currently, when you search for “doctors”, you get a page with lots of results that mention “doctors” in the description:

Page of Pinterest pins for a search for doctors

Clicking on most of these pins brings up a larger version of the image as you’d expect.

Detail of Two Doctors pin

But for one image, a message appears to say that the pin has been deleted.

Deleted pin

(Such a deleted pin almost certainly shouldn’t show up in the search results; something Pinterest are likely to address in the near future.)

There are a couple of reasons why a pin might have been deleted:

  1. Pinterest decided it was spam.
  2. Someone reported it for copyright violation.

The item was pinned by a user called “Lexy Minner”. Clicking through to her account gives a 404 error suggesting that the account has been deleted.

Pinterest 404 Page

The fact that the account has been deleted (presumably by Pinterest), suggests that this was spam that Pinterest have now cleaned up.

Looking further down the page, you can see the same image appears again. The second instance is the same story — the pin has been deleted and the pinning account no longer seems to exist.

Curiously, despite Pinterest saying that the pin has been deleted, you can still repin it (for now at least).

Once repinned, you can then visit it on your own pinboard and follow its link.

You’ll find it’s a link that have flagged as potentially problematic… warning

… and clicking through it takes you to an Acai berry scam sales page:

Acai Berry Scam Sales Page

(Whatever you do, don’t sign up for this product!)


It seems that the Pinterest team is now cleaning up spam by deleting both pins and accounts. Their war against the spammers continues and no doubt we’ll see further developments soon.



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