Ever since 2017,  Kik messenger has been plagued by irrelevant messages distributed by automated bots. In particular, it has seen its public groups assailed by a large number of these bots which infuse it with spam-related content. Jaap, computer science and engineering master’s student, annoyed by these relentless and unwelcomed interruptions, decided to tackle the issue by engineering a counter bot called Rage that would identify and remove these bots.

Using proprietary algorithms to identify known spambot name patterns, Rage also uses Imagga’s adult content filtering API (NSFW API) to scan profile pictures as well. The result worked so well that friends soon wanted it. With word of mouth only, his bot was installed on over 2,000 groups in just three days. Now his bot is used in +3000 chats rooms, containing over 100.000 people, and some 20.000 images are being processed every month.

Major project issues Neural networks are expensive: the cheapest is AWS g2.2 series which costs $0.65/hour. For a student, it is a hefty sum to invest in GPU instances. Therefore Jaap looked into using a third-party company that would provide him with a more affordable out of the box solution. While Google came up as first in a search, he selected Imagga because of the already tested accuracy compared to other solutions on the market.

Putting it all together – Since spambots use racy profile pictures, Rage bot’s detection algorithm works a lot better using Imagga NSFW API than it would be just applying name matching. When someone joins a chat, his or her name is scanned for known spambot name patterns while Imagga’s NSFW content moderation analyzes his or her profile picture. If the safety confidence level is less than 40%, the user is considered a spambot and is removed from the chat.
Since Kik profile pictures are public, Rage bot only needs to send image links directly to Imagga Content Moderation API from which it returns its result.

1
"confidence": 100,
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"name": "safe"

Up until August 2018, Jaap and his bot have stopped over 20K spambots from plaguing Kik Messenger. Detected bots who have under a certain level of “confidence” are removed automatically, but the Rage bot is not stopping here. One of the most recent features is the 48 mode, which detects the number of people in a chat and removes inactive users.

Building and deploying Imagga’s NSFW classification were set up and running in a day. Using the 2,000 free API calls a month demo, Jaap was able to quickly implement, test and judge if this was the right tool for him. As a content moderation solution, it can be installed and run the same day with no downtime and deliver accurate content moderation. Then, if you need more API calls, Imagga has very affordable pricing.