where do facebook spam messages come from?

Understanding Those Mysterious Facebook Spam Messages You May Be Receiving

If you are one of the more than 1.8 billion people who visit Facebook every day, you have probably already figured out a way to deal with filtering out the many potential notifications, some of it some may consider Facebook spam messages, that you could be receiving.  Going to the Facebook Account Settings page under your personal profile leads you to a complex screen like the one pictured below:

facebook general account settings screenshot

If you keep going down the list on the left side, you will notice a Notifications menu, and after you select that, you will see that you have full control over the notifications that you receive from Facebook to your email inbox as follows:

facebook settings notifications options

If you go to the very bottom of this screen, you will be able to choose as to whether you get these notifications in your browser, email, or sent to your mobile phone as an SMS text notification as follows:

how you get facebook notifications settings

I believe this should give you full control over what messages you receive from Facebook. In fact, this article was originally written when there was a loophole in that invites from events were spamming my inbox. There is now a setting that will help ensure you do not receive these emails from Facebook anymore.

If you are still having issues, please read the remainder of my original blog post in which I explain the loophole described above and see if it gives you any new ideas to help your situation.

(below is from the original blog post which is no longer relevant but is below just in case you need to find a solution that isn’t in the above settings)

I felt like I was in full control over these emails until I started receiving a certain type of message that started to bother me because I could not control it.  If you have been receiving messages from Facebook that you do not know the origin of, keep reading as you may have the same problem I have: receiving messages from people that you are not friends with and/or groups that you are not part of!

I should first of all point out that, in addition to the above screen, there is another screen in which you can control your Facebook notifications: Privacy Information –> Contact Settings.

In these contact settings, if you select “Everyone” for this you are allowing people who find you in search results or visit your profile to send you a message.  I leave this on as I am open to hearing from people that may want to get into contact with me.  But this particular type of spam is not related to this type of general message. The particular type of Facebook email notification that I have been getting has these characteristics:

  • The email title displays that it is sent out by what appears to be the name of a Group that I am not a member of
  • The headline at the beginning of the email now shows a person that I do not know sending out a message to all members of what appears to be the Group that I am not a member of
  • When I click on the person who sent the email we are not friends
  • When I click on the name of the Group it is not the name of a Group but is actually the name of a Facebook Event

And that is where I discovered the spam message loophole: If you create a Facebook Event, in addition to inviting your Facebook friends to the event, you can add email addresses from people that you don’t need to be friends with nor are even on Facebook to send them the notification.  Similar to how people spam you on LinkedIn by joining the same LinkedIn Group that you are in and sending you a message, there are many people on Facebook that are spamming you with Event notifications that you can’t turn off because they are inputting your email address.

In this age of social media there are many ways in which you can obtain someone’s email address.  The real question now is how to report these messages that you do not want to receive anymore.  With LinkedIn, if you receive a message, you can pinpoint the profile and report spam to either LinkedIn and/or the LinkedIn Groups that the person is a member of.  What to do in the case of these FB spam messages? On the FB Event page itself there is a place to “Report the Event,” but even though there is a “Spam” option the event itself could very well be a legitimate one. The only remaining option is to select the link to reply to the message and at the top there is a “Report Spam” button.  Once you press it there is no questioning for clarification but it says that the message was reported for spam.

Will Facebook be looking at those messages that you report for spam?  Will it prevent the sender of the message from spamming you again?  Only time will tell…

Have you been receiving similar mysterious spam messages?

Have you received other types of messages in which you can’t stop them from being sent to you?

Please comment and educate us!

Hero photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Facebook Spam Messages FAQs

Where are spam messages on Facebook?

Spam messages are located under message requests in messenger. Facebook automatically filters spam messages which is why it is quite hard to locate. Once you have located the Message Requests in messenger, scroll down to the bottom page and you will find a small link that says, See Spam.

What does spam messages mean on Facebook?

Spam messages are messages sent to you by a non-friend Facebook user. As a way of securing your account, Facebook automatically assumes them as spam. It may include bulk messages and messages with excessive links. If you happen to receive one of those, it will be automatically placed under filtered messages.

How do I check my spam messages on messenger?

To check your spam messages on messenger, open the main message inbox in either the messenger app or in desktop. Then click the gear icon on the top left corner to view Message Requests. You will then see the list of message requests that you have. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and click the small link that says, See Spam.

How do I stop spam messages on Facebook?

You can easily stop spam messages by tweaking your settings. First, log in to your account and click on the menu arrow in the top right-hand corner to go to Privacy Settings. Look for the How You Connect settings then hit the edit settings link next to it. You can then adjust the privacy level you want based on who can look you up using your name, send you friend requests, and messages.

Can you get a virus just by opening a Facebook message?

Opening a Facebook message does not automatically give you a virus. Your concern should be the content of the message. Does it contain a random file that is asking you to download it? Or suspicious links and images? If yes, the chance of getting a virus is higher. But worry less because Facebook is doing good in filtering suspicious links and binary files in Messenger.

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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  1. I have received a message on messenger from someone outside my country i don’t even know. The message saying “Blocco Immediato” the profile does not seem wrong or suspicious?

    any help?

  2. Hi, my sister hacked in my facebook account and sent a derogatory message to a friend of my friend which I don’t know personally. My friend didn’t read it yet and I want to try to delete it before she sees it. How can I do that?

    • On the desktop go to the message icon, at the bottom select see all messages, then at the top go to the settings icon and select delete messages. It will then show circles that if you check and press delete, they will be deleted. Not sure if the other person can’t see them or not but it’s your best bet. Good luck!

  3. I have marked a message on FB as spam .. It shows spam when I put the person’s name in the search box for messages . What happens if the person still tries to send messages . Will he be able to . Also if he is able to , will I receive the message in my message folder under his name . In short , what is the effect of marking messages as spam on FB . ?

    • Thanks for the question. I believe it provides feedback to Facebook and you will either 1) not see messages from that person in the future and/or 2) potentially get that person banned from Facebook if they are getting spam reports from lots of people. Make sense?

  4. I’m receiving sever messagse on my facebook from people I don’t know that look normal and say things like ” can I be completely honest with you” and when i open them it says there was an error or that profile has been deleted so I can’t reply . Is this spam ? How can I make it stop ?

    • Those are spammy profiles sending out those messages to lots of people, and before you could reply, many others had already reported them as spam and thus their profiles should have already been removed. There is no way to completely remove them, but check your privacy settings where it says you can allow anyone to send you a Facebook message. Checking that off should stop most of these messages. Good luck!

  5. I have seen the “other” next to my Facebook inbox, I clicked on the “more” and I have one message that is marked as spam. I assume I click delete conversation, but how is it marked spam? It is from no one that I know, and when I search the name nothing shows up.

    • I’ve received those too Nicole. I believe they are spam messages sent to many people and someone has already marked them as spam and all you can do is delete them.

  6. I am not now, nor have I EVER had a Facebook account, but I get “Facebook” spam email daily (along with “Canadian Pharmacy”). At least they do come thru the spam folder, but it’s ridiculous. I have never received a single spam email in over a year that I’ve had my little netbook until this garbage started coming 3-4 weeks ago. Has anyone else been getting these in just the past few weeks or has it been going on longer? Would it do any good to change my Yahoo username and/or password? I also have a gmail account which I really don’t use but have for back-up. I get no spam in that account at all.

    • I don’t know if it will make you feel any better, Linda, but I’ve been getting those for a loooong time … ;-(

  7. i’m Being spammed through FB messages and wall saying “you look nice” ,”you are a bitch” , “you are awesome” , “is it you” etc etc., followed by some link, to the people in my Friends list, This happens as soon as I log in to my account, and this is absolutely without my knowledge.. i get to know only when i see updates on the ticker, or else when my Friends complaint me of the same.. This is embarrassing..

    Help and suggestion to overcome this will be a great welcome.. !!!

    • Wow Veena – it sounds like you have a pretty unique situation I have never heard of! You might want to go through your privacy settings and only allow your friends to send you messages. This should eliminate the spam – but if it’s coming from a Facebook friend, you might want to end your connection with them on Facebook. Do let me know if the advice helps!

      • Sorry Neal Schaffer.. Very Sorry.. Its not I’m being spammed.. But I’m Spamming.. and its absolutely without my knowledge.. Please provide e some solution..

        • Hi Veena,

          I believe I know your issue: Either 1) your password has been compromised, so I recommend you change your password or 2) without your knowledge some malware installed an app without your knowing – in which case you can go to Manage Apps and if there is one that you don’t recognize, revoke access to it.

          Hope the info helps!

          – Neal

  8. Hello,

    nice article !

    I have the same issue, 3 auto-generated messages with +196 persons I don’t know”.
    “Leave a conversation” (appearing 2 times in the menu btw), or “delete the conversation” doesnt work.
    I tried to find a features to “control who can send you an event invitation”, from the event page itself, or through the “confidentiality” and “account settings”, I red also all their FAQ section, no answer!

    Im really surprised how Facebook doesn’t answer their users…

    Help will be welcome!


    • Thanks for the comment! Indeed, this is still a “loophole” which allows many to send you notifications. That being said, once I receive an event notification, I immediately turn it off – and will sometimes unfriend those who sent it to me!

    • Hi .. I reported a person sending spam but sent few messages to give them a piece of my mind .. I have also blocked them will my messages still show on there messenger ? Please if anybody knows plz do let me know thanks in advance :)

  9. This one keeps showing up. Not from a friend, tho’ it seems to be.
    “I am cleaning up my friend list. If you know me and want to stay on my friend list, say yes..”

  10. Sorry to hear about what happened to you. I’m not 100% sure about how it works, but I can only imagine that it will be very hard to remove any block on user-generated spam report. My suggestion to experiment with is to try to create a new event and be more selective at inviting people – this might work if Facebook is putting a block on the event name/URL and not you. Give it a try and let us know how it works out!

  11. I have sent out non spam event announcements,  they have been blocked  and reported as spam.  I need instructions of how to remove the block so the messages can be received.

  12. i have .. By mistake clicked spam on one of my friends notifications..

    Now i cant see any more post from him ..?
    how do i undo the spam thingy???

    • Don’t know what you can do, but best thing to do is to send your friend a Facebook message, write on their wall, and tag them in a message – to “engage” with them, to show the Facebook “engine” that they are really your friends. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

  13. You can simply BLOCK your ex, then he can no longer even view your profile. This should work for spam if you have the profile name or event, whatever. You go to account settings in the upper right hand of your profile, click on privacy preferences then, at the bottom of that page is your BLOCK LIST. You simply enter in the email address, or the name of the person and select their profile, and hit block. They will no longer be able to view you AT ALL, they will get a message reading, page not found. You can also change your privacy settings, allowing only your friends to write to you, you have many options in privacy settings, including customizing. I hope this helps!

  14. I’ve recently received two nasty FB emails from an ex-boyfriend of mine (not to mention, a psycho) whom is not on my friends list, nor do I want him to be, and I certainly don’t want to be able to receive msgs from him either. Anyhow, I clicked on the “report spam” button above the msg and it was instantly deleted from my inbox. Will it prevent and/or block future messages from him that are sent to me?

    • Unfortunately, only Facebook can answer that question. But if enough people respond, I would tend to believe that that person will not be on Facebook for long…

  15. I hear ‘ya…Facebook is quickly becoming Spam Central. Let’s hope the FB folks are thinking about how to improve the situation…

  16. Im being spammed through IM people I dont even no keep sending “Cole, LOL embarrasing I found this video of you online wow” then they send a link to an apple advertisement about free Itouchs, WTF is going on. It isnt people playing a joke its a machine. I currently have all my bots sending pissed off messages to facebook……..bastards I hope I crash them

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