The Golden State Warriors

December 07, 2015

The Warriors’ Social Media Program Protects Brand and Their Fans from Hackers, Spammers, and Deviants

All the Right Moves
From draft selections, to free agent signings, to coaching hires - the Golden State Warriors seem to be making all the right moves. But the Warriors excel at more than just winning games. Their social media team has built a social presence that’s at the forefront of the sports world. Their Facebook page alone has attracted 4.7 million “Likes” from fans around the globe. Even more impressive is fan engagement. Over a one-week period leading up to the NBA Finals, their Facebook community made over 49,000 comments! Clearly, the Warriors social media program is helping build deeper fan relationships and extending their brand to a vast global audience.

A Victim of Their Own Success
As their social pages became more popular, the Warriors were finding that they were becoming victims of their own success. Hackers, spammers, and deviants were attracted by the large audiences connected to their properties. By posting malware, phishing scams, spam, hate speech, pornography, and profanity to top social destinations, bad actors effectively drop “attack bait” into a massive pond of potential victims. As the volume of harmful content increased, the Warriors became concerned about their brand and the overall effectiveness of their social programs. At the arena, on TV, and in social media, the Warriors want to create a comfortable and safe environment for their fans. If it becomes unsafe to visit their pages, some of their most important fans (families, etc.) stop visiting. Periodic spikes in malicious content also created noise that obscured their message and effectively hijacked social conversations.

It’s Tough to Keep Up
Like many organizations, the Warriors manually moderate social comments to remove harmful content and engage the audience. This manual approach worked at first, but it didn’t scale as their programs became more successful. During the week leading up to the NBA Finals, for example, human moderators would have had to review over 7,000 comments per day for Facebook alone! Keeping up with content that accumulated on nights and weekend was a particular challenge. Plus, many scams were cleverly disguised to evade human moderators who are not trained cyber security experts. Moderators and the audience needed to engage without being distracted by junk or harmed by phishing and malware. The team knew that as their social presence continued to grow, the problem would only get worse.

Automated Security Moderation
Prior to the 2014/2015 season, the Warriors brought in Proofpoint’s Nexgate team to help them better manage malicious social content. Proofpoint provides a 100% cloud-based social media security and compliance platform that identifies and optionally deletes malicious content at unlimited scale, 24 hours per day. During just the one week before the NBA Finals, Proofpoint scanned over 49,000 Warriors Facebook comments and automatically deleted 1,864 comments spanning Scams/Spam, Adult, Hate Speech and Pornography (see Figure 1). In total, about 3.75% of all comments were deleted. In addition to blocking individual comments that violate policy, Proofpoint tracks the users making those comments. Users who repeatedly violate policy can be permanently blocked. In the Warriors case, 328 users earned a permanent block. Based on Proofpoint research, those repeat offenders would have continued to pollute the Warriors page with approximately 1,500 additional malicious comments per week. Not only has Proofpoint taken a large load of tedious content moderation off the shoulders of the social team, but the team’s brand is now protected 24 hours per day, 7 days per week (even while human moderators are sleeping.)

Golden State Leads the Way
The Warriors are leading the NBA on the court and in their social media outreach. As social engagement continues to grow in importance to the Warriors’ business, they understand the need to protect the ensuing relationships. Unfortunately, the more successful they are in social, the more costly it becomes to deliver that protection through manual content removal. With Proofpoint, they were able to fix the cost of security regardless of message volume, and focus their moderation efforts on engaging the audience as opposed to hunting bad content. Bottom line, they get better results at a lower cost – a winning game plan for any team. 

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