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Apple cleans up spam, tweaks interface in iTunes Ping

Though spammers quickly flocked to Apple's fledgling social network last week, most of the bogus surveys and other unwanted comments were removed by Monday.

Soon after it was unveiled last week, Ping was inundated with spam, as comment sections on many popular artists' pages were filled with links to items like phony surveys. But by Monday, that spam was all but removed from the service.

Ping also initially had a number of fake accounts, with users posing as Apple executives, including CEO Steve Jobs and designer Jony Ive. Many of those accounts had also disappeared by Monday.

In addition, Apple made minor tweaks to the Web-based interface of Ping, adding "back" and "forward" buttons that were missing when the service launched last week alongside the release of iTunes 10. The buttons make it easier for users to navigate the Ping service, which can only be accessed through iTunes.

On Friday, Apple revealed that Ping had enlisted more than a million users in its first 48 hours. About a third of the people who downloaded iTunes 10 activated the service, said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet services.

But despite the initial success, Ping was also met with some criticism by members of the press when it launched last week. Some, including Peter Kafka of MediaMemo, complained that Ping does not analyze a user's entire music library. Instead, it only considers items that were purchased through the iTunes Store.

Ping has also been criticized for its lack of connectivity with other, larger, and more established social networks. Facebook last week reportedly blocked API access to Ping after the company failed to reach an agreement with Apple. Chief Executive Steve Jobs alleged that Facebook demanded "onerous terms" for the two parties to work together.

Apple touted last week when unveiling Ping that it has 160 million iTunes users with active credit cards in 23 countries. The new service allows users to "follow" artists and friends, allowing them to see popular songs within a group and hear about upcoming concerts.