SpADe: Multi-Stage Spam Account Detection for Online Social Networks


In recent years, Online Social Networks (OSNs) have radically changed the way people communicate. The most widely used platforms, such as Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram, claim more than one billion monthly active users each. Beyond these, news-oriented micro-blogging services, e.g., Twitter, are daily accessed by more than 120 million users sharing contents from all over the world. Unfortunately, legitimate users of the OSNs are mixed with malicious ones, which are interested in spreading unwanted, misleading, harmful, or discriminatory content. Spam detection in OSNs is generally approached by considering the characteristics of the account under analysis, its connection with the rest of the network, as well as data and metadata representing the content shared. However, obtaining all this information can be computationally expensive, or even unfeasible, on massive networks. Driven by these motivations, in this paper we propose SpADe, a multi-stage Spam Account Detection algorithm with reject option, whose purpose is to exploit less costly features at the early stages, while progressively extracting more complex information only for those accounts that are difficult to classify. Experimental evaluation shows the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm compared to single-stage approaches, which are much more complex in terms of features processing and classification time.


Computer Science

Keywords and Phrases

Artificial Intelligence; Behavioral Sciences; Blogs; Detection Algorithms; Feature Extraction; Social Network Security; Social Networking (Online); Spam Detection; Unsolicited E-Mail; Video on Demand

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1941-0018; 1545-5971

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2022 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2022