Online surveys have become a valuable tool for collecting information, feedback, and opinions from users across the globe. Google Forms, a popular survey creation tool, has made it easier for individuals and organisations to design and distribute surveys. However, like many online platforms, Google Forms is susceptible to spam, which can compromise the integrity of the data collected and disrupt the intended purpose of the form.
This article discusses what Google Form spam is, its types, the impact of Google Form spam and a few tips to prevent Google Form spam.
What is Google Form spam?
Google Form spam is submitting irrelevant, inappropriate, or malicious responses through Google Forms. Automated bots or individuals typically generate these submissions to disrupt the form’s functionality, manipulate data, or promote spam content. The motives behind Google Form spam can vary, including attempts to spread phishing links, promote products and services, or create chaos.
Also read: How to stop getting spam on Google Drive?
Types of Google Form Spam
Here are some common types of Google Form spam:
- Automated bots: Spammers use automated bots to fill out forms quickly with random or pre-planned information. These bots take advantage of weaknesses in the form’s design, flooding it with many submissions.
- Manual submissions: Some spammers manually input irrelevant or inappropriate content into Google Forms to disrupt the survey’s purpose or influence the results.
- Phishing attacks: In more harmful situations, spammers employ Google Forms for phishing attacks, trying to deceive respondents into sharing sensitive details like usernames, passwords, or personal information.
- Competitor interference: In a competitive environment, individuals or groups may resort to Google Form spam to undermine a rival’s survey results and disrupt the collected data.
Impact of Google Form Spam
The presence of spam in Google Forms can have several negative consequences:
- Data quality compromise: Spam submissions can distort the data’s accuracy and reliability, undermining the form’s purpose.
- Resource drain: Dealing with a high volume of spam submissions can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, diverting attention from legitimate responses.
- Security concerns: Malicious content and links embedded in spam submissions may compromise the security of the form and the devices accessing it.
Also read: How to stay safe from Google Docs spam?
How to prevent Google Form spam?
While Google Forms do not have built-in spam filtering, there are strategies to mitigate and manage spam:
Adding a CAPTCHA to your form can help verify that responses are coming from humans, not automated bots. There is no direct way of adding CAPTCHA to Google Forms, but there is a way to create your own CAPTCHA in Google Forms. Here is how to do it:
Step 1: Open the forms where you want to add CAPTCHA and click the Add Question icon.
Step 2: Select the Short answer in the Question type box and then click on the Triple vertical dots icon.
Step 3: Select both Description and Response validation options.
Step 4: Now, add a simple math problem in the Question field. In the Description box, type CAPTCHA so people know to indicate that it’s not a part of the form and then turn the toggle beside Required to make it mandatory to solve the CAPTCHA to submit the form.
You can save, check and send the form.
Change response preferences
There are a few response preferences that will help you prevent Google Form spam. To enable them, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Open the forms that you want to make more secure. Click on the Settings tab at the top and then click on Responses to expand it.
Step 2: Under the Responses section, firstly, select the Verified in the Collect email addresses option, which will make Google sign-in a requirement for respondents to fill out the form. Second, turn the toggle on beside the Limit to 1 response, allowing only one response per user.