Unlike some social media platforms, Facebook takes spam seriously and warns about sending spam in its Terms and Community Guidelines. The consequences of posting spam can range from a simple warning to having your account permanently disabled. Facebook defines spam the way most people using the service do: unwanted content, excessive posts to your Timeline and excessive friend requests. Although spam may be sent by account users, it's more common that it is generated by malicious apps or hackers who have gained access to a user's account.
Reporting anything you consider to be spam takes just a few clicks. Click the small arrow near every post and private message on Facebook to see an option to "Report/Mark as Spam" or simply "I Don't Like This Post." After you click this selection, Facebook prompts you for additional information about why you are reporting it. To report a page or a profile, click the Menu icon, which looks like three horizontal lines, and select the appropriate options that describe why you are reporting it. In addition to flagging spam, you can also unfriend, unfollow or block someone's account.
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How Facebook Responds to Spam
How Facebook responds to items you report as spam varies. Facebook may remove a post if it determines the post violates its community standards. At its discretion, Facebook may warn a user, deactivate or suspend an account that is sending out spam. For example, if you mark a friend's post as spam, it may turn out that his account was hacked or some malware is posting from his account. In this case, Facebook sends a message to the account owner informing him of what they did and why. If you have a Facebook page and mark something as spam, it's removed from view for everyone who visits your page, except the person who put it there and his friends.
Facebook's More Extreme Measures
Other than simply removing content and warning the user to stop sending spam, Facebook may choose to block someone from accessing his account, lock the account or permanently disable the account. A blocked account means you can't log in to Facebook for a specified period of time, ranging from a few hours to a few days. If your account has been locked, you need to prove your identity by answering the security question you used when creating your account or by having your closest friends help you get your account unlocked. Facebook sends your friends a code, which they give to you so you can unlock your account. Facebook provides instructions on how to do this. To reactivate a disabled account, send an appeal to Facebook directly.
Protecting Yourself and Your Friends
Malware is a common cause of spam on Facebook. If a friend begins sending a lot of spam, contact him to let him know. He may be unaware that his account has been compromised. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer to protect yourself. Never click on a suspicious-looking link. Beware an email that says your account has been locked; the tactic is a common way for hackers to access to your account by redirecting you to a Facebook look-alike. Instead of clicking on an email link, go to Facebook directly by typing "facebook.com" in your Web browser. Use a strong password containing a combination of letters and symbols. Take advantage of Facebook's Login Approval feature, which sends you a text message when anyone tries to access your account from a new computer or mobile device.
- Facebook: What Is Spam?
- Facebook: About Facebook's Security & Warning Systems
- Facebook: What Happens When I Mark a Post on My Page as Spam?
- Facebook: How to Report Things
- Facebook: How Long Will the Block on My Account Last? Can It Be Lifted?
- Facebook: My Account's Locked. How Do I Complete the Account Recovery Process and Reset My Login Info?
- Facebook: Warnings
- Facebook: Introducing Login Approvals
- Facebook: My Personal Facebook Account Is Disabled