How To Spot Facebook Spam
We all experience unwanted marketing communication in lots of different ways. From junk email to telemarketing calls to ads crammed into every nook and cranny of anything that holds our attention span. But there is a line between paid advertising placements, guerilla marketing tactics, and flat out spam. And there is a further difference between non-malicious advertising and harmful content.
Lately there has been a noticeable increase in spam on Meta’s platforms (Facebook & Instagram) and spotting it is getting harder.
Here’s How To Spot The Spam On Facebook
We’re going to look at 4 common types of spam you may encounter on Meta’s platforms.
1) Fake reviews
2) Direct Messages (DM’s)
3) Misleading Page Names
4) Fake emails
Facebook Fake Review Spam
Fake review spam is false customer reviews on your Facebook Page that share a misleading link. Here is an example:
Fortunately these fake recommendations come coupled with giving you a glowing rating so as annoying as these are, they could be worse. The issue is that you can’t delete reviews. But what you can do is report the post as spam. Here’s how:
1) Click on the “...” in the top right corner of the post
2) Select “Report post”
3) Choose the reason (in this case, “Spam”)
4) Confirm that this post meets the criteria for Spam
Most people seeing your Page reviews can spot the spam quite easily so don’t stress if you have some sticking around.
Facebook Direct Message Spam
If you’re like me, DM Spam is the one that I truly do find annoying and wish I didn’t have to deal with. Facebook direct message spam is messages sent to your business Page with either harmful links or files. Here is an example:
And the kicker? You’ll get reminders about it too.
Now this looks like it is a proper notification from an official Meta Source, but the deceiving part is that it is coming from a personal profile that is named “Meta Business Suite”. You’ll get a notification that this person sent a message to your Page. When you read the message, there are some cues in the language that tips you off that this is spam.
Look at where this message says “We have temporarily suspended your Page because someone told us that you violated our terms and conditions of service.”
Meta doesn’t give you a heads up based on what someone “told” them. Meta takes swift action and you’ll find yourself locked out and seeking answers before you get a notification like this.
Here is another one. They have created a fake profile that uses alternate characters in the profile name to look like it is coming from Meta.
The huge increase in DMs to Pages lately are including DMs to Pages with deceptive .rar or .zip file extensions. These are compressed files that can contain harmful content that you may unknowingly be downloading to your computer. Here are some examples (Did I mention I’ve been getting a lot of them??):
The good news is that most of these fake profiles are getting stamped out quickly by Meta so you’ll notice that usually on the same day that you receive the message to your Page, the user has also been removed off the platform.
You can also mark these messages as spam.
Misleading Business Page Names
Another confusing tactic is when bad actors on the platform create Business Pages with a misleading Page Name that includes wording like “Violation”. If that Page tags you in their content, you may feel like you’re getting a notification that you have had a violation and feel compelled to click on the notification to investigate further. Just ignore these.
I’ve tried my best to gather screenshots of all of these examples and I’ll update this post when I have a firsthand example of this.
Fake Emails Posing As Legitimate Facebook Correspondence
Everything we’ve talked about above is taking place on Meta’s platforms. This example is spilling over into your inbox with fake emails masquerading as legitimate Meta communications. How do you spot the difference? This is probably one of the more difficult scams to spot and needs extra scrutiny when reading the language, wording, connotation, and checking the source sending the communication. Have a look at these examples forwarded to me by clients:
In the first example, Meta is not going to ask you to “Please click the button below if you believe these tales are fake.” That one actually made me laugh out loud.
Again, Meta (both Facebook & Instagram) are not going to “urge you to submit an appeal form” as in the example above. Nor are they sending this to an Oversight Board. There is no “situation” to be “rectified”. Instead your content will be removed if it was in fact in violation. And on top of that, you’re not going to receive a notice of a violation of content on both Facebook and Instagram lumped into one email.
An Oversight Board for Meta does exist, however. “Meta created the Oversight Board to help us resolve some of the most difficult questions around freedom of expression online: what to take down, what to leave up and why.”
“If you disagree with a content decision Meta has made on Facebook or Instagram, you can appeal the decision to the Oversight Board. After going through Meta’s appeals process, you’ll be issued an Oversight Board reference number, which you can use to submit your case to the board for review.”
When To Take It Seriously
Now I do have one example of a legitimate violation warning that one of my client’s accounts received and I have seen similar notifications that Members of Swift Kick In The Ads have submitted. This one relates to information the Facebook Pixel is collecting on their website. Notice that the email is from “email@example.com” and rather than clicking on any links the email, I was able to go into the client’s account, navigate to Events Manager, and sure enough I saw all of the same warnings right within the account. This email was legitimate.
How To Keep Yourself Safe
Vigilance and knowledge are your best pals. We can’t abolish all forms of unwanted marketing or malicious content coming our way, but what we can do is be informed.
Did I miss anything in this article? I want to hear what you’ve experienced on the platform.
About The Author
Amanda Robinson is a Meta Certified Lead Trainer and the Founder and CEO of The Digital Gal Inc., a globally recognized brand specializing in paid digital advertising. Amanda is an international speaker, consultant, and educator known for her expertise in Facebook advertising, AR/VR, and the Metaverse. Amanda is a Certified XR designer. She is a published author of the Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing through Entrepreneur Press and is regularly featured as a guest on media-related podcasts. She has taught over 1,000 business owners and entrepreneurs how to manage their own Facebook Advertising. Amanda is a Member of Agroapulse’s Social Media Advisory Board, composed of the top industry influencers and agency owners around the world. Have questions about Facebook advertising? Don’t hesitate to reach out!