Understanding Those Mysterious Facebook Spam Messages You May Be Receiving

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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 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!

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
Where’s the Ecommerce Conversation on Social? (Infographic) http://t.co/3GfHItswZJ via @SocialTimes - 52 mins ago
Neal Schaffer


  1. KingCOle says

    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

  2. KML8365 says

    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?

  3. Bluestar68 says

    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!

  4. Mujtabakhan_3 says

    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???

    • says

      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!

  5. Jesr21 says

    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.

  6. says

    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!

  7. Susan B. says

    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..”

  8. briste mortai says


    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!


    • says

      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!

  9. Veena Jangam says

    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.. !!!

    • says

      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!

      • Veena Jangam says

        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..

        • says

          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

  10. Linda G.M. says

    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.

  11. Nicole Hauck says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  12. Chastin says

    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 ?

    • says

      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!

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