Facebook is feeling lonely these days.
The social media behemoth has seen a decline in traffic in recent weeks along with millions of users leaving its platform, and it appears to be taking rather drastic measures to win them back. Specifically, spamming the hell out of them in a most unfortunate place.
So says one account holder, Gabriel Lewis, who tweeted that Facebook texted “spam” to the phone number he submitted for the purposes of 2-factor authentication. And no, he insists he did not have mobile notifications turned on.
What’s more, when he replied “stop” and “DO NOT TEXT ME,” he says those message showed up on his Facebook wall.
Lewis explained his version of the story to Mashable via Twitter direct message.
“[Recently] I decided to sign up for 2FA on all of my accounts including FaceBook, shortly afterwards they started sending me notifications from the same phone number. I never signed up for it and I don’t even have the FB app on my phone.”
Lewis further explained that he can go “for months” without signing into Facebook, which suggests the possibility that Mark Zuckerberg’s creation was feeling a little neglected and trying to get him back.
According to Lewis, he signed up for 2FA on Dec. 17 and the alleged spamming began on Jan. 5.
We reached out to Facebook to find out just what, exactly, is going on here. Is this some kind of bug? Perhaps a limited test? It wasn’t initially clear, as the comment offered from a company spokesperson didn’t shed much light on the matter.
“We give people control over their notifications, including those that relate to security features like two-factor authentication,” noted the spokesperson. “We’re looking into this situation to see if there’s more we can do to help people manage their communications.”
However, a statement issued Feb. 16 by Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos finally provided a tiny bit of clarity.
“It was not our intention to send non-security-related SMS notifications to these phone numbers, and I am sorry for any inconvenience these messages might have caused,” he wrote. “We are working to ensure that people who sign up for two-factor authentication won’t receive non-security-related notifications from us unless they specifically choose to receive them, and the same will be true for those who signed up in the past. We expect to have the fixes in place in the coming days. To reiterate, this was not an intentional decision; this was a bug.”
While Stamos says a bug is to blame, it is important to keep in mind that Lewis isn’t the only person who claims this happened to him. One Facebook user says he accidentally told “friends and family to go [to] hell” when he “replied to the spam.”
Same thing happened to me. I inadvertently told my friends and family to go hell when I replied to the spam.
— David Comdico (@dcomdico) February 14, 2018
As far as Lewis is concerned, Facebook attempts to woo him back have more or less backfired. “I feel like they are constantly pushing me to come back to the service but this is not the way to do it.”
After all, no one likes a desperate ex.
This story has been updated to include a statement from a Facebook spokesperson, and a statement from Alex Stamos. The headline has been adjusted to reflect Stamos’s statement.