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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.