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February 23, 2015

Pinterest ‘Black Ops’ Team Kicks Spammers to the Curb

Pinterest is cracking down on spammers courtesy of a new system the social media site has dubbed Stingray.

Now, Pinterest’s ‘Black Ops’ team can dismantle entire attacks in milliseconds, compared to a year ago when it would have taken between four and 24 hours to do so.

“Stingray is a distributed stream processor and rule engine that enables us to react to known malicious behavior in milliseconds,” said Black Ops manager Marty Weiner in a blog post. “We can even pre-empt attacks if they match signatures along hundreds of different dimensions and stop the attack before it starts. Because we architected Stingray with certain fundamental distributed systems guarantees, we’ll soon be able to write a rule and easily apply it in the past completely annihilating an attack and the mess it leaves.”

During the past six months, Pinterest has added a strong integration test environment and comprehensive monitoring to aid in the speedy and easy detection of problems. Within a few months of implementation:

  • The level of spam reported on Pinterest has plummeted so much it is no longer a useful metric;
  • Its system responds twice as fast to internal spam requests;
  • Incidents of Pinners clicking on spam has dropped in half;
  • The system’s ability to successfully respond to spam improved from 95 percent to 99.99 percent.

Check out Pinterest’s Hollywood-esque video below which offers an entertaining look at how the ‘Black Ops’ team fights spam on the virtual pin-up board.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.