where do facebook spam messages come from?

Understanding Those Mysterious Facebook Spam Messages You May Be Receiving

I originally wrote this blog post when there was a weird loophole that had tons of Facebook Events invitations flooding my inbox. Since then, I have been in better control of what I perceive to be Facebook spam messages, but the popularity of this blog post over years tells me that many of you still struggle with the issue of unwanted messages.

If you are one of the more than 1.9 billion people who visit Facebook every day, you have hopefully already figured out a way to deal with filtering out the many potential notifications and bothersome messages–much of it considered Facebook spam messages–that you could be receiving.

How to Stop Facebook from Sending You Unwanted Emails

Where do you even begin to manage all of this? It can be confusing, but your journey to avoid unwanted messages should be as follows. Note that I am showing you screenshots from the desktop version, and since Facebook was originally developed for desktop, I highly recommend you manage things here.

1. From the home screen, tap on your avatar in the top right hand corner, which should reveal the screen below:

Facebook personal profile menu settings

2. Clicking on “Settings & privacy” will take you to this next screen below:

Facebook General profile settings & privacy

3. From there, you will want to click on “Settings,” which will open up the following panel on the left hand side and your full screen should look as follows:

Facebook profile settings

4. Click on “Notifications” and then you will get choose the following as pictured below for each type of Facebook notification:

  • Push notification on your browser
  • Email
  • SMS text sent to your smartphone where you have the Facebook App installed

Here is what it looks like for the first type of notification: “Comments”:

Facebook profile notifications settings

5. Going down the list, you should choose for each activity what notifications you want to receive and where you want to receive them.

Eliminating email notifications will remove any potential for Facebook spam messages or bulk messages coming directly from Facebook without eliminating attractive messages from people you know and trust. Here is a full list of the types of messages you can decide to opt out of:

  • Comments
  • Tags
  • Reminders
  • More Activity About You
  • Updates from Friends
  • Friend Requests
  • People You May Know
  • Birthdays
  • Groups
  • Video
  • Events
  • Stages
  • Pages You Manage
  • Pages You Follow
  • Marketplace
  • Fundraisers and Crises
  • Voting Reminders
  • Article
  • Other Notifications

6. Just when you think you are done, there is still one more important setting to manage.

If you continue to scroll down to the bottom of this screen the following “How You Get Notifications” appears:

Facebook profile how you get notifications settings

It is critical, if you believe you are receiving Facebook spam messages, to simply set the email frequency to “Required notifications” to prevent Facebook from sending you messages that are “Suggested” by them but potentially considered spam by you! This can reduce receiving any anonymous email messages, or FB spam messages that have been plaguing you in your inbox and notifications. 

How to Stop Facebook Spam Messages from Appearing in Your Facebook Messenger

These days, Facebook Messenger has become another important app that we use as almost a second inbox. While the above can help us reduce emails from Facebook, we still might be getting way more message requests and chats in our message inbox than we need. If you fall into this category, please keep reading!

1. Please go back to Step 3. above and instead of clicking on “Notifications,” please click on the “Privacy” menu option just above it.

You should then see the following:

Facebook profile Privacy Settings and Tools

2. While there is a lot of important privacy information you should review here, for the purpose of controlling our Facebook Messenger chats, please scroll down to the bottom two areas of this screen as pictured below, where you should be able to see the “How people can find and contact you” and “How you get message requests” screens.

As I will explain below, these two sections are closely related:

How people can find and contact you on Facebook

3. In the “How can people find and contact you,” you will need to make sure whether you want to allow people who know your email address and/or phone number to be able to look you up and therefore message you on Facebook.

While you obviously want your close friends and family to be able to find you, the ease with which others can find your email address (do you ever get any spam? I thought so!) and/or phone number (robocalls anyone?) means you are leaving yourself open to getting lots of unfiltered messages. This will help you get one step closer to receiving primarily filtered messages.

4. Fortunately, Facebook has given you the option, for each type of message, to decide whether you want the message to go into your Facebook Messenger chat, Message requests folder, or not receive them all.

Pictured below is an example of what the screen looks like for the “Potential Connections” option:

how you get Facebook message requests from potential connections

Doing the above two things should give you full control over message delivery from Facebook both in email and in your Facebook Messenger.

Are you still receiving Facebook spam messages?

How to Stop Other Spam Messages from Facebook

If, despite the above, you are still receiving iffy messages from Facebook, they are probably not from Facebook at all, but are what we call phishing attacks, messages which tell you you need to log in to Facebook to see something or fix a problem, together with a big log in button or clickable links. Sometimes you might receive these in direct messages on other social networks together with suspicious links.

Whatever you do do not click on the button or external link! If there is an issue with your Facebook account, just go to https://facebook.com and log in there to confirm. If you can log in there, there is nothing wrong with your account and you will not have clicked on any infected links!

Other Facebook Scams You Should Be Aware Of

Receiving spam messages that look like they come from Facebook but don’t is a type of Facebook scam. You should be aware that there are always lots of these floating around, so here are 3 sample scams to learn about to better understand how to avoid these in the future!

Cloned Account Scams

Cloned account scams are becoming increasingly common. With a name that only slightly differs from the original account and the same profile photo, information, and content, receiving friend requests in your message inbox, or even private message requests from these people is often a scam designed to get money, information, or resources. Messages from people should always be double checked and vetted prior to responding. 

Giveaway Scams

Giveaway scams are also common. In these, a scam message will likely come from an account that seems legitimate and well-established–i.e. a current profile photo, a fully-fleshed out bio, and more–with a message about having won a prize or cash. Suspicious messages like these may initially elicit an excited response, but remember that you cannot win a prize you have not entered to win, yourself, and you should always verify safety and accuracy when you receive requests from people to give out personal information, or any time you receive an unusual message. 

Fundraiser Scams

False fundraisers are also common scams. These typically come in the form of a direct message asking for money. They are usually designed to be exciting messages, and can be from a friend’s account, or the account of a business. Whether on a mobile device or your laptop or desktop computer, these messages are usually default messages without any clear, personalized information that a friend or trusted business would know. Whether it is a polite message, requesting assistance, or a more emphatic message, be wary of any email message that comes in unsolicited. 

Conclusion

It’s impossible to keep spam completely out of our inboxes, but Facebook has improved how we can manage what type of communication we want to receive. With that in mind, after reading this, hopefully you will stop receiving Facebook spam messages with any malicious links or fake links. Sorry that I can’t help you reduce your spam outside of that, but you can use this wonderful tool that I use called Sanebox (click here for.a free 14-day trial) to help manage spam better!

Have you been receiving similar Facebook spam messages?

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

Please comment below and I will try my best to help you!

And if you’re looking for more Facebook advice, check out these other posts from my blog:

Hero photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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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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40 Comments

  1. Neal – a really good article, thank you for sharing. Do you have the same thing for business pages? All our clients are being hit hard at present by a spam message stating they will delete the account. We are seeing variations by the sender, these spammers, I am not sure why they waste their time on creating these things.

    • Hey Karen, yes, I am seeing the exact same thing that you are – they are really obnoxious and unfortunately I don’t know a way of stopping them as every business leaves their mailbox open. You would think that Facebook would be aware of the issue … let’s hope …

  2. We do a lot of marketing on Facebook and never had problems with more than the occasional spam message telling us about copyright infringement and all that nonsense. But lately, we’re getting 20 and 30 of them every single day. I can’t limit the people who can contact us since we are marketing. Do you know anything else we can do to stop this sudden wave of spam messages?

    • Hey Mitch, yes, I am seeing the exact same thing that you are – they are really obnoxious and unfortunately I don’t know a way of stopping them as every business leaves their mailbox open. You would think that Facebook would be aware of the issue … let’s hope …

  3. Hello Neal, I have been on Facebook for about 5 years without any real people problems. However, I recently began responding a little bit to friend requests and it suddenly snowballed into my having a California Gold Rush of friend requests. I have been thinking about sharing my wellness innovations with the public and this seems attractive for that purpose. Next thing you know I have 1500 friends and wow that was great except I started getting spam notifications on my profile. I researched how to stop that from showing. Next thing I know my wife starts getting spam notifications that lead from a stranger and then prominently includes my name “and 70 others”. So, I reason these embarrassing ads are also being sent to my friends list every day – a horrible thought. I began searching for the offender’s name on my friends list and unfriended them. But with each time their/my mutual friends list to work through that potential removal list keeps going and trying to selectively find and remove them all is wearing me down. A few days ago, I went in and changed selections in the privacy section from showing to friends to only me and for any notifications to be reviewed first by me, yet my wife is still getting the spam notifications that include my name. Any ideas on what settings change or moves I can make to stop this? SOS… Anything you can do. Thanks

    • Hi Ronald! In desktop go to Settings –> Notifications –> Then go through each of the Notifications settings and turn OFF the ones that you are getting spammed on. Hope this helps!

  4. 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?

    • I would completely ignore it or go to the person’s profile and block them if you think it to be inappropriate. Hope this helps!

  5. 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!

  6. 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?

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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 … ;-(

  10. 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

  11. 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!

    Cheers

    • 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 :)

  12. 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..”
     

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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…

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

  19. 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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