The new groups: we’re not spamming you, Facebook is

Facebook’s new groups have received criticism for two things: (a) you find yourself in groups you never asked to join; and (b) you are suddenly on a spam list.
   When several of our groups were faced with the options of ‘archiving’ (i.e. closure and the deletion of all members) or upgrading, I chose the latter, because these were all groups where people had freely joined and wanted to receive news from us. It seemed a disservice to allow them to close.
   Of course, we then began facing the same problems as any other Facebook group. Sadly, this included accusations that we were, or I was, spamming people, when it’s all to do with Facebook. As I pointed out to one member tonight, I haven’t changed the way I use one of my groups for three years. The only thing that has changed is Facebook.
   Since Facebook has now taken away the ability to DM all members with its “improved” groups (add that to the list of complaints I have), the regular messages I have pasted on our walls to inform people how to get themselves off the spam list have gone unnoticed by some people. As such, the number of members we have on all but one group is dropping: 773 to 721 at the Lucire one, and over 2,000 to 1,915 on one for the TV series Alarm für Cobra 11: die Autobahnpolizei.
   This is damaging to the brands that chose to support Facebook in the early days—the Lucire group has existed since groups were available on Facebook—and there’s a lack of awareness, surprisingly, over the notification settings, which have been on the service since I joined in 2006.
   To repeat: we are not spamming you, but Facebook is. We don’t have your email addresses, and Facebook hasn’t sold them to us.
   Facebook puts the name of the writer in the ‘From’ field in the spams: please look at the email addresses. They are all from Neither our team members nor I have a account. While that field can be faked, you’ll also find, if you investigate the email headers, that the messages come from Facebook’s servers.
   Facebook has been known to change its notification settings regularly without your permission. The most recent occurrence of that was April 20, 2011, and I had documented prior cases on May 2 and 4, 2009. It allowed our photos to be used for marketing by default in July 2009.
   So, if you are bothered by spam, and I am, turn off your notifications. This is why I have posted so often about this. It’s to your own advantage to poke around the settings in there, anyway. You may find, as I have regularly done, that Facebook has set, by default, to spam you in the most unlikely of situations.

Turning off group spam
   1. The easiest way to turn off spam from the groups is hitting the ‘Edit Settings’ button on the group page. Click the button and a second window appears:

Turning off Facebook spam

   2. After you have unchecked the boxes here, click on the link that reads ‘edit your notifications settings’.
   This should take you to the page I originally advised people to go there directly, but I have been told that that does not work. You have to go there either through the above method, or visit ‘Account’ in the top right-hand corner, then ‘Account Settings’, then click the ‘Notifications’ tab.

Turning off Facebook spam

   3. Scroll down to the section headed ‘Groups’. Click on the link ‘Change email settings for individual groups’.

Turning off Facebook spam

   4. A pop-up should appear with all the groups you have joined (or have been added to without your permission).

Turning off Facebook spam

   And, while you’re in there, see what else Facebook has turned on. You may find Facebook has turned on, by default, a lot of other things you never expected. Most of my team are surprised when I walk them through this page, so if you have never been there, you aren’t alone. In fact, this might be the best thing to happen to your privacy: to learn ways of combating Facebook’s spammy tendencies.

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2 thoughts on “The new groups: we’re not spamming you, Facebook is

  1. Thanks Jack. Unbelievable when you have to go through this, to communicate with other Facebook users what Facebook ought to be communication for themselves.

  2. I quite agree, Jeb. Facebook is being very arrogant, too, by setting the groups to spam by default.

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