Some of you might remember how, back when we used email accounts that were from our ISPs, or from our work, we used to get a lot of junk mail and spam. The majority used their own desktop clients, and in order to avoid the junk mail, we had to add plugins and additional software to our desktop clients. We had to keep upgrading our junk filters to fight the madness. The email providers and ISPs turned managing junk mail into our problem.

Eventually, Google came along with Gmail and started killing spam at the cloud level. Over a period of time, a whole network layer intelligence developed around spam and junk mail. It allowed the big email providers to come together and collectively hunt down the sources — and while not entirely successful, it was a good fight that has given us a semblance of control over our email inboxes. Almost! […]

What Twitter and Facebook are trying to do [with bot accounts and misinformation] reminds me of those early days of email. It’s the same old mistake: Adding labels is not the answer.

Om Malik on the fake internet.

Malik, of course, points out that the main reason “traditional” social networks are seemingly incapable of handling bots is that they’re financially incentivized not to; bots drive user numbers and engagement, i.e. the sole method by which social media sites make money, via the commoditization and sale of user information and behavior to third-parties.