What is Spam? | Webopedia (2022)

Spam is unsolicited internet content that is typically sent in bulk for advertising purposes from an unknown sender.

In this definition...

How prevalent is spam?

What is Spam? | Webopedia (1)

The first spam message was sent in 1864. It was a telegram advertising teeth whitening. In 1978, the first proto-Internet spam email was sent, an advertisement for a new computer model from the Digital Equipment Corporation.

(Video) This Is How Spam Is Really Made

Oftentimes, spam is used for illegitimate advertising purposes. And it isn’t always fraudulent or malicious. But it can be a threat when it’s used to spread malware or for activities such as phishing.

Spam consumes hard disk space, ties up memory, wastes bandwidth, and affects server performance. It takes up valuable time, lowers employee productivity, and fills up mailboxes.

Spammers keep updating their techniques to trick victims, so it’s important to be aware of their tricks. How does spam work, and what dangers does it pose? Most importantly, how can individuals and businesses protect themselves against it?

Why is it called spam?

There is some debate about the source of the term, but the generally accepted version is that spam comes from a song in Monty Pyton’s Flying Circus with the lyric, “Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam.” In this scene, a group of Vikings in a cafe are singing about the ubiquity of the canned meat product after World War II.

The rise of chat rooms and Bulletin Board Services (BBSs) in the 1980s expanded the term when some users began repeatedly posting “spam” to consume screen space. This new context gave way to spam being used in reference to the same message being sent repeatedly to prevent other messages from getting attention or to push out other users in the same chat.

(Video) What You Should Really Know About Spam

But spam didn’t gain notoriety until the rise of the Internet and instant email communication. It reached pandemic proportions in the early 90s. In 1999, Melissa, the first virus that spread via Word documents attached to emails, wreaked havoc on the digital world, causing $80 million in damages.

Professional spammers quickly rose to prominence because there wasn’t any anti-spam legislation in place until the early 2000s, when governments started regulating spam. Most countries now have laws that restrict spam.

In 2003, the U.S. created the CAN-SPAM Act. The laws put restrictions on the sending behavior, the content, and the unsubscribe compliance of all emails. Google and Microsoft, the top email providers, have also worked hard to improve spam filtering technology.

The efforts may be paying off: by some conservative estimates, about 45% of emails are considered spam.

Types of spam

Spam is sometimes defined more broadly as any unsolicited email. However, the advancement of email filtering and privacy laws have led spammers toward other mediums for sending messages, specifically social media. In addition to wasting people’s time, spam also consumes a lot of network bandwidth. A person who creates spam is known as a spammer.

(Video) Gordon Ramsay Makes SPAM Scrambled Eggs in Hawaii | Scrambled

As mentioned above, the original spam messages came in the form of email and message boards or forums. Email spam messages (also called junk mail) were usually intended for advertising or other types of marketing campaigns, and spam has historically constituted more than two-thirds of all email content since the commercialization of the Internet in the 1990s. Similarly, message boards and forums were often subject to high volumes of spam until moderators and filtering technology became more strict about discerning spam from genuine posts.

Spam Email

Spam email is unsolicited, unwanted email sent out in bulk to a random recipient list. Spam email is usually sent for commercial purposes and can be sent by robot networks or infected computers.

Many businesses still send spam emails, although the practice is considered unethical. The emails often contain adverts for services or products. Very few reputable marketers use spam email to advertise.

Spam Text Messages

Spam texts are unsolicited messages. They mainly originate from computers and are sent to phones via an instant messaging account or email address. Spam text messages are cheap to send because they are sent online.

How to Stop Spam Texts

  • Block the number sending spam texts. Both Android and iPhone owners can turn on spam blocking or text filtering settings to reduce spam texts.
  • Don’t disclose personal information.
  • Report the scammer. Some cellular carriers allow the reporting of spam texts or robotexts.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It’s illegal to send unsolicited commercial messages to users without their consent.

Spam Calls

Research shows that more than 50% of all calls people receive are spam. A spam call is an unsolicited call whose intention is often to scam or trick the recipient. Robocallers (spam callers) often mask spam with local, genuine-looking phone numbers.

(Video) What is spam?

Scammers often use the internet to make countless calls with ease. And even if just a few people fall for their scam, they make enough profit to cover their expenses.

Social Media Spam

Social media platforms have yet to institute significant spam filtering tools. Especially for profiles with a large following, direct messaging and replies are often subject to spam messages.

Some platforms like TikTok, however, have introduced a juxtaposed spam meaning. Posts on these platforms that use the hashtags #spam, #spamforspam, or #sfs indicate the user is inviting other users to “spam” their post with likes in exchange for the same being done to theirs. This is largely attributed to the monetization of social media engagement, so spam in this context has a more positive connotation that is contrasted with historical spam scenarios.

What does Spam Risk mean?

The words “Spam Risk” on an incoming call mean that the mobile carrier has detected that the call is from a fraudulent or deceptive source. The best thing to do is ignore the call and not answer it.

These types of calls can be stopped by enabling the built-in spam call blocking feature on many mobile devices.

(Video) Top 10 Untold Truths of How SPAM Is Really Made

  • On Android, go to Settings > Caller ID & Spam. Enable Filter Spam Calls to filter the calls automatically.
  • On iPhone, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification. Turn on Allow These Apps To Block Calls And Provide Caller ID.

Why is spam bad?

  • Overloads Communication Systems: Spam blocks communication channels and creates traffic that has to be paid for. It’s also received and processed by mail servers, which are maintained by highly-paid specialists, increasing infrastructure running costs.
  • Infects Computers: Spam can cause significant damage by infecting users’ computers with malicious software, which can damage systems, steal personal information, and consume network resources.
  • Wastes Time: Spam email is one of the biggest causes of inefficiency in the workplace because it has to be deleted manually. An overcrowded inbox can greatly affect productivity in an organization. Each time someone stops what they’re doing to skim through their mail, they waste time that could be spent on more meaningful tasks.
  • Causes Financial Loss: Americans lose $29.8 billion to spam phone scams in a year, and about 19% lose money more than once. About a quarter of all financial losses from online scams originate on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Further reading

U.S. Government attempts to limit unwanted messages led to 2003’s CAN-SPAM act. | Webopedia
Watch out for these key email spam terms | Software Pundit
Spam never rests, even during Covid. | TechRepublic
Block SMS spam on Android | TechRepublic
Find more tips on how to avoid getting spammed. | Webopedia
What to do when it happens anyway. | Webopedia


What is spam short answer? ›

Spam is digital junk mail and unsolicited communications sent in bulk through an electronic messaging system. Unrequested, disruptive, and usually promotional, spam messages are designed to flood as many inboxes as possible. Traditionally, spam has been sent via email, but also includes SMS and social media messaging.

What is spam example? ›

Email messages you did not ask for from senders you don't know. Unsolicited commercial email messages sent in bulk, often using a purchased (or stolen) mailing list that includes your address.

What does spam mean in texting? ›

Spam refers to messages which are unsolicited and unwanted. Usually, spam texts are not coming from another phone. They mainly originate from a computer and are sent to your phone via an email address or instant messaging account.

WHY IS spam called spam explain in your own understanding? ›

It is named after Spam, a luncheon meat, by way of a Monty Python sketch about a restaurant that has Spam in almost every dish in which Vikings annoyingly sing "Spam" repeatedly.

What is types of spam? ›

Four Common Types of Spam and Tips to Identify Them
  • Phishing. Phishing is the most common form of spam. ...
  • Vishing. Vishing is similar to phishing, except it happens over the phone. ...
  • Baiting. Baiting, similar to phishing, involves offering something enticing in exchange for your login information or private data. ...
  • Quid Pro Quo.
8 Oct 2020

What is another word for spam? ›

What is another word for spam?
junkdirect mail
junk mailunsolicited mail
admailadvertising mail
3 more rows

Why do people spam? ›

Spam emails are almost always commercial and driven by a financial motive. Spammers try to promote and sell questionable goods, make false claims and deceive recipients into believing something that's not true.

How do you use spam in a sentence? ›

Examples of 'spam' in a sentence spam
  1. We are all getting spam and phishing emails. ...
  2. Only all their emails had gone straight to spam. ...
  3. Or taking the opportunity to catch up with the emails in their spam inbox. ...
  4. Blood conflict is just spam.

How do you speak spam? ›

How to Pronounce "Spam" - YouTube

Why do I get spam texts? ›

Spam messages usually originate from a spammer's getting hold of your cell number, often via data leaks, the sale of personal data or even simply by random number generation. However the spammers got your number spam texts are at best an annoyance, and at worst a downright security hazard.

What do you mean by sperm? ›

Meaning of sperm in English

a sex cell produced by a man or male animal: In human reproduction, one female egg is usually fertilized by one sperm. [ U ] informal for semen (= the liquid produced by the male sex organs that contains sperm) Animal reproduction.

How many types of spam are there? ›

Spam of All Flavors

Today, there are 13 different varieties of Spam — classic, less sodium, lite, hot & spicy, Black Pepper, Jalapeño, spread, singles, singles lite, hickory smoke, bacon, cheese, and roasted turkey.

How is spam made? ›

This Is How Spam Is Really Made - YouTube

Is spam any good? ›

Though Spam is convenient, easy to use and has a long shelf-life, it's also very high in fat, calories and sodium and low in important nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it's highly processed and contains preservatives like sodium nitrite that may cause several adverse health effects.

Where is spam most popular? ›

The United States consumes the most Spam, followed by Korea. The average Hawaiian eats at least five cans of Spam a year.

How do you stop spam? ›

On a stock Android device, like Google's Pixel phones, open the Phone app and tap on the Recent tab. Long-press the number you want to block and tap Block/Report Spam. You can choose whether to uncheck the box marked Report call as spam and then tap Block.

What is the opposite of spam? ›

ham e-mail (uncountable) (Internet) E-mail that is wanted by the recipient and is not considered spam.

What do you mean by unsolicited? ›

Definition of unsolicited

: not asked for or requested : not solicited unsolicited advice unsolicited email.

What is a synonym unsolicited? ›

unasked, unbidden. (also unbid), uninvited, unsought.

Are you spamming me meaning? ›

to send unsolicited electronic mail or text messages simultaneously to a number of e-mail addresses or mobile phones. noun.

Is spam in English? ›

Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation.
Spam (food)
Spam logo
CourseMain course or ingredient
Place of originUnited States
Region or stateMinnesota
Created byHormel Foods Corporation
5 more rows

What is the meaning of spam in WhatsApp? ›

Spam messages on WhatsApp contain malicious content used to get a hold of your personal information via your smartphone. WhatsApp spam comes in all shapes and sizes: from online scams to phishing attempts, to false advertisements.

What is spam in biology? ›

Sperm is the male reproductive cell, or gamete, in anisogamous forms of sexual reproduction (forms in which there is a larger, female reproductive cell and a smaller, male one).

How do I block spam text messages? ›

How To Block Spam Text Messages on Android From an Email Address
  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Hit the three dots in the upper right corner.
  3. Select Settings from the drop-down menu.
  4. Choose the SIM card if applicable.
  5. Select Spam protection.
  6. Tap on the slider next to Enable spam protection so it becomes blue.

How do I stop spam texts and calls? ›

You can register your numbers on the national Do Not Call list at no cost by calling 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). You must call from the phone number you wish to register.

How do I stop spam group texts? ›

How To Block a Group Text on Android
  1. Open the default messaging app.
  2. Enter the group text.
  3. Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  4. Select Block contact from the list.
  5. Confirm your choice in the pop-up window and choose whether you want to delete the group message as well.

What is female sperm called? ›

Gametes are an organism's reproductive cells. They are also referred to as sex cells. Female gametes are called ova or egg cells, and male gametes are called sperm.

Can you see sperm? ›

Can you actually see sperm? Only if you're looking through a microscope. Sperm are tiny.

What does thick sperm mean? ›

Thick semen usually results from a higher than normal concentration of sperm in a typical volume of semen, or from having a high number of sperm with an irregular shape (morphology). High sperm concentration often indicates that you're more likely to impregnate a female partner.

Who makes spam? ›

SPAM® brand - Brands - Hormel Foods.

When was spam first made? ›

Hormel Food's Spam was introduced to consumers in 1937. American soldiers soon brought the canned luncheon meat around the world, delivering it to people in war-torn countries facing food shortages. But times have changed since Spam was introduced more than 80 years ago.

What is spam made out of? ›

It may come as a pleasant surprise to learn that SPAM is not the preservative-packed mystery meat you might think it is. In fact, SPAM only contains six ingredients! And the brand's website lists them all. They are: pork with ham meat added (that counts as one), salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrite.

Does SPAM contain milk? ›

Yes, Spam Lite Canned Meat is dairy-free.

Why is SPAM so salty? ›

The reason that Spam tastes so salty is because it has that spam has a lot of salt in it. An article on Healthline.com says that the original Spam recipe has 32% of the recommended daily allowance for sodium. Blame the inclusion of so much salt on the need to create a product that has a long shelf life.

How long is SPAM good for? ›

Spam should be stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days after opening. After this, any unused spam should be discarded to avoid health problems.

What is spam Class 9? ›

Spam is any kind of unwanted, unsolicited digital communication that gets sent out in bulk. Often spam is sent via email, but it can also be distributed via text messages, phone calls, or social media.

What is spam class 10th? ›

SPAM is defined as the sending of unsolicited bulk email messages indiscriminately. It is also known as "junk mail," unsolicited bulk email (UBE) and unsolicited commercial email (UCE). Benchmark Email does not promote or encourage email SPAM techniques.

How was spam named? ›

According to the company's Spam Museum, Ken Digneau, the brother of a Hormel executive, came up with the name — a portmanteau word for “spiced ham” — in a naming contest and got $100 as a reward. The new product was introduced on July 5, 1937.

Who makes spam? ›

SPAM® brand - Brands - Hormel Foods.

What is spam How is it harmful Class 8? ›

Answer. Answer: Spams are unwanted messages or emails that come into a person's account. and they might carry some harmful files or viruses that can in turn damage the files of the computer and hamper its performance.

What is spam in computer class 7? ›

What Does Spamming Mean? Spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems like e-mails and other digital delivery systems and broadcast media to send unwanted bulk messages indiscriminately.

Why do people spam? ›

Spam emails are almost always commercial and driven by a financial motive. Spammers try to promote and sell questionable goods, make false claims and deceive recipients into believing something that's not true.

What is spam Class 11? ›

Spam is electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings. ... However, if a long-lost brother finds your email address and sends you a message, this could hardly be called spam, even though it is unsolicited. Real spam is generally email advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup.

What is spamming class 11 computer science? ›

In brief: Spamming refers to the use of electronic messaging systems to send unwanted bulk messages(spam), specially advertising, indiscriminately.

What is spam in cyber security? ›

Spam refers to unsolicited bulk messages being sent through email, instant messaging, text messaging or other digital communication tools.

Who eats spam? ›

The United States consumes the most Spam, followed by Korea. The average Hawaiian eats at least five cans of Spam a year. Average annual Spam consumption on the island of Guam is 16 cans a person.

What's spam made of? ›

It may come as a pleasant surprise to learn that SPAM is not the preservative-packed mystery meat you might think it is. In fact, SPAM only contains six ingredients! And the brand's website lists them all. They are: pork with ham meat added (that counts as one), salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrite.

Where is spam made? ›

Spam that is sold in North America, South America, and Australia is produced in Austin, Minnesota (also known as "Spam Town USA") and in Dubuque, Iowa.

Is spam any good? ›

Though Spam is convenient, easy to use and has a long shelf-life, it's also very high in fat, calories and sodium and low in important nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it's highly processed and contains preservatives like sodium nitrite that may cause several adverse health effects.

Does spam have sugar? ›

Foods related to classic spam by spam

Classic spam by SPAM contains 180 calories per 56 g serving. This serving contains 16 g of fat, 7 g of protein and 1 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 0 g sugar and 0 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate.

Can dogs eat spam? ›

The short answer is no, dogs can't eat Spam safely. Spam is made from pork, which isn't toxic for dogs on its own. But Spam also contains such high levels of sodium and fat, plus a number of preservatives and additives, that it's not a safe food to feed to your dog on any sort of regular basis.


1. A Brief History of SPAM
2. Spam As Fast As Possible
3. What is Spam
4. KIDS vs. FOOD #8 - SPAM
(Kids REACT)
5. Understanding Spam and Phishing
6. What's actually in Spam?
(What Next? )

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