April 10, 2011

Facebook Immune System

Workshop on Social Network Systems (SNS)

By: Tao Stein, Roger Chen, Karan Mangla


Popular Internet sites are under attack all the time from phishers, fraudsters, and spammers. They aim to steal user information and expose users to unwanted spam. The attackers have vast resources at their disposal. They are well-funded, with full-time skilled labor, control over compromised and infected accounts, and access to global botnets.

Protecting our users is a challenging adversarial learning problem with extreme scale and load requirements. Over the past several years we have built and deployed a coherent, scalable, and extensible realtime system to protect our users and the social graph.

This Immune System performs realtime checks and classifications on every read and write action. As of March 2011, this is 25B checks per day, reaching 650K per second at peak. The system also generates signals for use as feedback in classifiers and other components.

We believe this system has contributed to making Facebook the safest place on the Internet for people and their information. This paper outlines the design of the Facebook Immune System, the challenges we have faced and overcome, and the challenges we continue to face.