Got a new follower? Proceed with caution. Peloton announced in a press release this morning that a rather nefarious bot is trying to get a little too friendly with members. This bot is creating accounts with inappropriate profile photos and following members en masse. And for those unsuspecting members, the beloved “You have a new follower on Peloton” email comes with an explicit images front and center.
Peloton Fighting Explicit Images Pornographic Spam Accounts
In today’s digital world, bots create fake accounts way more than any of us realize. Every web-based company has systems of detection and response in place to address them. Usually, we are not even aware that these fake accounts are among us. The difference in this one is that the bot really wants us to notice it—it’s found a way to solicit engagement from Peloton members by following them, and it’s using a very eye-catching photo to do so.
This bot may just be trying to hustle traffic for its own site—one profile associated with the bot lists what appears to be a porn website as its location. But whatever its intent might be, unsolicited photos of peoples’ privates is nonconsensual and a violation of our community standards, and brings attention to an otherwise benign vulnerability in the Peloton platform. No one needs this bad energy in their life right now.
Here’s what Peloton had to say:
Today, Peloton is taking active action against accounts being intentionally created with inappropriate content, including explicit imagery in their profile picture. These explicit images are a direct violation of our standards and terms of service.
We are actively working to block these accounts and continue to moderate explicit images associated with user profiles. Please do not accept or reply to these follow-requests. To alert us of inappropriate content, please report their username to email@example.com.
We apologize to those of you who received these follower requests and were exposed to this content. This is certainly not the community experience we expect for our Peloton Members.
So for the time being, screen your new followers and if you notice anything inappropriate, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the profile photo, you might be able to spot a fake account by a disproportionate ratio of followers to following (e.g. its following 1400 members, but only has 3 followers), and by a complete lack of classes in its history.
As of the time this article was written, these bots had not been joining classes, so you should not be seeing their photos on the Leaderboard!
Tune in to The Clip Out on Friday, Dec. 23, to hear Tom and Crystal’s take on this and other hot Pelotopics. We’re available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart, TuneIn. Be sure and follow us so you never miss an episode. You can also find the show online on Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page and join the group. Lastly, find us on our YouTube channel, YouTube.com/TheClipOut, where you can watch all of our shows.