If you are one of the 400+ million people on Facebook, you have probably already figured out a way to deal with filtering out the many potential notifications that you could be receiving. Going to the “Account Settings” page under your personal profile leads you to a complex screen like the one pictured below:
If you keep going down the list, you will notice that you have full control over the notifications that you receive from Facebook to your email inbox. 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 there is the following selection that you can make:
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 Groupthat 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…