What Happens When You Report Facebook Spam?

Heather O
Heather O CEO, HeatherO International

Posted on September 20th 2010

What is Facebook Spam?

I’ve often said that ‘spam is in the eye of the receiver”, but for most people it is an unwanted post or email (that is usually business related). Typically it is usually an attempt to generate business or lure people to their website or sales page.

This is becoming more and more common as Facebook continues to be ‘where the people are’.  Where the people are, the marketers will go.  I have NO issue with sharing your business via Facebook AT ALL! In fact, if your business truly serves others, I believe it is a disservice not to.

However, I am very anti-spam.  I do not want spam in my email, my facebook mail, my direct messages, or anywhere else.

The challenge is, that many people think “because we are friends…”

NO, not because we are friends. Because we are friends does not mean that I have any interest in your product or service.  If we are truly friends, I might. But if I want you to post info on my wall, I will ask.

Posting your latest greatest widget or ‘opportunity’ to someone’s wall is not okay in my opinion. It is rude, tacky and a bad reflection on you.

It is also a violation of facebook terms of service, aka “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities”

(see #1)


  1. We do our best to keep Facebook safe, but we cannot guarantee it. We need your help to do that, which includes the following commitments:
    1. You will not send or otherwise post unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam) on Facebook.
    2. You will not collect users’ content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission.
    3. You will not engage in unlawful multi-level marketing, such as a pyramid scheme, on Facebook.

    (Read in entirety here)

The question that precipitated this post was: ‘what happens if you report spam?'

Reports are investigated by Facebook (according to Facebook) and spammers receive a warning, and in cases of repeated abuse, or serious violations (hate, porn, etc), the violators account is terminated and likely not reinstated.

The question of concern in this case however, was what can happen to the person reporting the user, based on this:

The language of concern being:

“I understand that blatant or repeated invalid reports could result in disciplinary action being taken against my account”  Sadly I guess this language is necessary because there are people out there who will report people just to be mean.

The important language to note is “I believe that the comment I am reporting violates abuse standards of facebook”

I have researched high and low, and without having a ‘friend’ at Facebook headquarters, I have no way to confirm the process that they go through, or how they do things up there. (Feel free to contribute if you do:)

I am no attorney, and don’t play one on TV, or on Facebook, but I do believe that the terms of Facebook are pretty clear, and as long as the post meets the criteria, and you can safely say that you believe it does, then you shouldn’t have a concern.

It clearly states “Blatant or repeated INVALID reports”

I believe that it is important to all of us to maintain the integrity of Facebook by reporting people who abuse it. That is my opinion. It is worth noting that Facebook also recommends blocking the person as well.

Personally, I look at the post and [try to] decide if a human put it there, or a ‘bot’. [if it is in a comment, it is usually a human]. I do believe there is some value in ‘calling them out a bit’ if it is someone that maybe just doesn’t realize that what they are doing is not kosher with you. As in posting a comment like:

‘Good to know. How much are you paying me to advertise on my wall ? :)

But, it is up to you of course. At least other people will see that it is not okay, and perhaps learn from it [which is always my goal:]

Just FYI, here is what Facebook says about reporting abuse:

I encourage you to ONLY report true abuse. There are people who do this just to be nasty, and all I can say is …karma… :)

(I have included the link to the full statement or ‘terms of service’ here, and strongly encourage you to read it. It isn’t that long.)

Heather O

Heather O

CEO, HeatherO International

Heather OSullivan Canney (aka HeatherO) is an International speaker, consultant, coach and writer. She refers to herself as "Chief Empowerment Officer", and is passionate about inspiring and empowering others to live their purpose, and share their passion. She believes strongly in the power of authenticity, "being you" and the power of a 'give first' philosophy. Known to many as "the branding queen", HeatherO has become widely known as a social media maven. Both due to her inherent talent for doing both remarkably well. Heather's 'very real' personality and down to earth style, together with her knowledge + humor, help people to relate, understand and embrace her powerful message.
See Full Profile >


Posted on September 20th 2010 at 11:08AM

I so appreciate this post. I noticed spam solicitations on the wall of an organization this weekend and clicked "flag," but then hesitated to report them because of that sort of threatening notice you mention. I should not have hesitated and I will follow through in the future because this was clearly wrong. And it's becoming much more common. Thanks!

Posted on September 20th 2010 at 12:10PM

A true friend would ask permission to post on another's Wall, just as one would e-mail another to "spread the word." Sometimes giving permission entails not having to ask again in the future. In which case a new and different product or message may be posted, perhaps one the friend does not agree with. For me there are other things I hate cluttering "my space." Chain letters- "if you don't send this to ten people, you will have bad luck." Games and invitations to games, repeatedly. Links to other services that have not been confirmed for its authenticity. Political or religious proselytizing or campaigning. I reserve the right to remove a comment, but I don't think I can remove a post unless I block that person. I don't want to go that far! Nor will I ask him/her to stop because they do have a right to say anything they want. I just don't have to listen to it.

It all boils down to one thing, ask!

Posted on July 27th 2011 at 3:48PM

Are you sure you're differentiating between someone posting on your wall and someone posting on their own wall which shows up on your news feed? If you click spam on someone else's post who you originally friended/liked/whatever, then you're hurting someone else, and and all the people who actually want to see that person/company's posts. Don't make everything about you, and just unfriend or unlike them until you can settle things.

Posted on July 25th 2012 at 4:33PM

I am getting harrssing messages and also telling other people that they are never to have anything to do with me.  I have done nothing wrong.

Posted on September 23rd 2012 at 8:58AM

I have a valued Facebook friend who posts a commercial for American Express credit cards every few days. She is a noted cookbook author and is very outspoken, but these messages have no personal comments by her, just "xxxx likes American Express", followed by the commercial du jour.

This looks and feels like spam to me and I wonder if her account has been hacked. 

Am I justified in reporting this as spam?  Or should I just hide the content and chalk it up to my friend's enthusiasm for a credit card?