Facebook SMS Spam?

Since early September Facebook has been spamming me by text message. Each message comes from “FACEBOOK”, but I don’t have them in my phone contacts. By ringing them I found out the SMS message came from 32232665, apparently a number they use in many countries. The call never connected so I don’t know if there’s a human at the other end.

The first message read

Over 150 million people have used the Facebook friend finder. Find the people you care about: http://fb.me/….

while the following three messages are like the one pictured above:

There are 9 people you may know on Facebook. Send them friend requests: http://fb.me/…

I was travelling when I received most of the other ones. I’m sure I received at least 1 of them while in Heathrow. I don’t have the Facebook app on my phone, but I had created a test Facebook account. It was many months ago and I had forgotten I added my phone number there to try out their sms integration.

If I had noticed those settings I guessed I wouldn’t be contacted. After all, the account wasn’t under my name and I had used a x+yyyy@gmail.com account to signup so people wouldn’t find it by searching for that my email addresses.

Lastly, any SMS communication to someone in Ireland has to be accompanied by instructions for stopping them. Also go read A Consumer Guide to Dealing with Unsolicited Direct Marketing by the Data Commissioner:

you were given a simple cost-free means of refusing the use of your contact details for direct marketing purposes at the time your details were initially collected, and where you did not initially refuse the use of those details, you are given a similar option at the time of each subsequent communication.

The creepy thing about Facebook is that they have matched that account with my main account. Maybe it’s because I may have logged into it with a browser I used for my main one, or because of the gmail address I used. I get regular emails from them saying, “John, you have more friends on Facebook than you think…” or “Do you know X, Y, Z?” where x, y and z are people on my friend’s list. It’s really, really unsettling, even when I have a notion of how they do it.

So, should I make a complaint to the Irish Data Commissioner? Maybe they can convince Facebook to add STOP instructions to their SMS texts.

4 thoughts on “Facebook SMS Spam?

  1. I getting rather tired of Facebook and their “don’t give a sh*t about privacy unless we are forced to” attitude is wearing rather thin at this stage. I have as little personal info on there as possible but those damn “like” buttons are all around the web tracking me 🙁

  2. I’ve just started working with a company that writes apps for Facebook (amongst other vendors like the BBC, etc). For that reason alone, I’ve recently had to create a Facebook account for the first time (so I could register as a developer). At the point where they wanted me to hand over my private mobile phone details “so I could be verified”, I told the company I’m working with to piss off and get me a phone they pay for if they want to register a developer account with Facebook for the purpose of making products for their use. Reading this blog, I’m glad I took that stance. I wouldn’t trust Facebook as far as I could kick Zuckerberg. Between them and Google, the internet has become a scary and unsafe place for average users. I hope that someone gets them and Google into a Court and shuts them down. It’s pretty clear they don’t give a damn about people’s privacy. If you or I behaved as they do as private citizens, we’d be arrested for stalking. Why is it any different when they do it?

  3. Over the last year more and more of my friends and family that relied on FB to keep in touch with each other have turned away from this platform. While it may be easier to keep in touch via facebook, the privacy issues are becoming a big concern and their devil may care attitude is likely to get even worse as they move their focus on making money.

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