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 2.4 billion people on Facebook, 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 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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