Avoiding spam on Facebook

Spam is a broad term applied to any attempts to contact people with unwanted messages or content and it’s usually used in a digital context. Spam comes in many forms online, with email perhaps being the worst culprit. It’s also common for social media users to be troubled and annoyed by unwanted messages, content and contact requests.

Spam is annoying because it clogs up inboxes and adds to the burden of managing communications online. Spam is also notorious for offering low-quality offers, scams and offensive content. Some of it might harmless but annoying: other unwarranted messages will be more malicious. Facebook spam can sometimes attempt to steal and sell your personal information, post on your Facebook page without your knowledge or solicit permission to try to spread the spam to your contacts and install malware on your computer.

But spam is hard to define. A piece of content that one person values may be considered spam by another. If a company sends out one Facebook message each week, the followers may find this level of communication acceptable. But if the same company messages them three times per week, they are likely to become annoyed and consider the message to be spam.

If a person voluntarily signs up to receive communications from a company or brand, they are less likely to consider the communications they receive as spam. However, most spam is unwarranted.

Avoiding Facebook spam if you’re an individual

You can help minimise spam on your personal Facebook profile by following a few good practices. It’s a good idea to regularly update your account password. Avoid any invites from people you don’t know, and don’t respond to offers that seem too good to be true – they are usually spam. Secure your account by unfriending, blocking or reporting anyone you suspect is posting something you think is spam. If it’s one of your friends, they may not even know that their account is posting spam as they may themselves have been hacked.

Avoid downloading or installing anything from the web that you aren’t confident about. Installing rogue apps and clicking on links occasionally installs things on your computer that you weren’t aware of, so don’t take everything you see online at face value. If you suspect that you’ve installed something dodgy, go to the applications area in your settings to check for any applications that look suspicious, then get rid of them.

Avoiding Facebook spam if you’re a company

It’s hard for brands to perform well on Facebook. Over the last few years, the algorithm has increasingly squashed the content pages put out, with the result that only around 5% of your audience will see your page posts. Although it’s tempting to take short cuts, spamming your audience is a surefire way to get caught out and damage your position. You can easily get your page blacklisted by Facebook if you aren’t careful.

It’s also easy to fall foul of the algorithm and have your content punished as a result. Check Facebook’s strict rules for posting competitions online to make sure you’re operating within them. Practices like these help avoid your content being dismissed as spam both by Facebook and by your audience.