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I don't want Facebook, but facebook wants me
October 11, 2012 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Am i destined to get facebook spam for the rest of my days?

Simple issue- long explantion. I have never been near the insides of the facebook, so apologies for sounding like rip van winkle.

Someone has seemingly signed up to facebook using 2 email addresses (is that possible? Can one have secondary accounts?) their own, and firstnamelastname@gmail.com; my e-mail is first name.lastname@gmail.com. 'Well, these 200 e-mails I got overnight are certainly annoying, but I'll just fill in the 'forgot my password' form, and go from there' thinks I. 2 options: 1 involves signing in with google, but even if I sign in without the dot in my username, seemingly spots that my name 'should' have a dot in, and thus doesn't match. The other option is to get an e-mail sent to a*******l@gmail.com, which is not my account, hence my 2 e-mail address theory (which might sound like laughable junk to someone in the know)

So, keeping sensible, I fills in the 'someone is using my email address' form and get.. "Hi, We currently don't have a registration under this email address." back by return post. Now, if this were true, I would presumably not know that Barbie just updated her status this very minute: "lol i cant sleep my movaa onna fone all loud talkin bout ooh he said her voice make him fall asleeep , <3 lol # alright im done lol". We've all been there, Barbie.

Now, I can just shove all this in my spam folder, but, lord, it just don't seem right that I can't make this stuff stop. So, if anyone has any smart ideas on how to get these people unwedged from my folders, I'm 100% ears.
posted by robself to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Are you 100% sure the emails are legit, and not spoofing spam? They can replicate the look & feel pretty accurately (at times).

If you're ever doubtful of the provenance of an email, don't click the links but go to the site on your own.
posted by trinity8-director at 12:30 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe a*******l@gmail.com is forwarding all email to your firstname.lastname@gmail.com account. I think you should try to get an email sent to a*******l@gmail.com and see if it arrives in your inbox. Report back after doing this! :) It may be spam, so also make sure that the emails are being sent from Facebook.
posted by semaphore at 12:31 PM on October 11, 2012


You could set up a filter to delete the emails as they come in.
posted by yohko at 12:33 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other option is that Barbie has filled out her registration with a*******l@gmail.com and made your email her forwarding address (this was possible 3 years ago; perhaps it still is?).

If you've written off spoofing, I would write Babs an email to ask her to change the address on her profile to one that isn't yours.
posted by AmandaA at 12:34 PM on October 11, 2012


I know from painful, long, and incessant experience that firstnamelastname@gmail.com gets treated EXACTLY THE SAME as firstname.lastname@gmail.com.

If you reset the password for the opposite email it should come to you in your GMail inbox, and you should be able to delete the account or the email address or whatever.

If you login an find someone's got their profile jacked up with your email address in it, I'd look for an alternate email address on the profile, email them, and try to explain and get them to stop using "your" email address.

I have NO IDEA why google does this - they should not allow people to sign up using firstnamelastname if firstname.lastname is taken - but I deal with this literally every day.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:49 PM on October 11, 2012


At first, I did presume it was spoofy garbage, as everyone had what, to my parochial eyes, were outlandlishly peculiar names, but now its settled down into just multiple status updates from Barbie ('"Tiana said she rubb on my checks while im sleep <3 Awwwwww <3"') and the occasional friend request.

Asking for a password reminder to be sent to a*******l gets me through to 'Check your email - we sent you an email with a six-digit confirmation code. ', but alas that's the one bit of facebook communication that doesn't seem to arrive with me. Oh, and one last addition from me - a*****l is not me being security conscious, that's just all I know from the facebookers: 'We sent your code to: a************l@gmail.com' - if I had the actual address I would have sent a politely fuming note immediatamente.
posted by robself at 12:49 PM on October 11, 2012


Could you try "friending" this person on Facebook (from your description of her statuses, I could imagine why this might be painful), and then explain to her via a Facebook personal message/chat that she's put in your email address?
posted by thanotopsis at 1:17 PM on October 11, 2012


...and firstnamelastname@gmail.com; my e-mail is first name.lastname@gmail.com.

Gmail doesn't differentiate between first name.lastname and firstnamelastname.

This, from Google:
Gmail doesn't recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they'll all go to your inbox, and only yours. In short:

homerjsimpson@gmail.com = hom.er.j.sim.ps.on@gmail.com
homerjsimpson@gmail.com = HOMERJSIMPSON@gmail.com
homerjsimpson@gmail.com = Homer.J.Simpson@gmail.com

posted by Thorzdad at 1:27 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Someone has seemingly signed up to facebook using 2 email addresses (is that possible? Can one have secondary accounts?)

To answer this part of your question, it's not a secondary account, but you can associate multiple addresses with your FB account. I have three addresses on my account: one is shown to one group of friends; a second is shown to a different group of friends; the third is not shown to anyone but me, but is the address where I receive FB notification emails.

However, this doesn't help with your main problem, as I can log in using any of the three addresses, and if I click the "forgot your password" link, entering any one of the three addresses gets a password reset message sent to all three addresses. The two I didn't enter are displayed as mostly asterisks on the password reset page, like the a*******l on yours—the difference being that the one I did enter is also displayed in full.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:35 PM on October 11, 2012


Medieval Maven: I have NO IDEA why google does this - they should not allow people to sign up using firstnamelastname if firstname.lastname is taken - but I deal with this literally every day.

Google does not now, and has never, allowed two separate accounts that only differ by dots. You can easily test this yourself by going to: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=mail and trying to create an account that differs from your Gmail account by adding period.

What's happen in basically all cases of this is someone typoing their actual address or just forgetting that that isn't their email address. Or something like that. It's not that they actually own john.smith@gmail.com while you own johnsmith@gmail.com. You have "john.smith", "j.o.h.n.s.mith", and so on. For good or bad. You can even login using any combination, but Google always displays to you the version you signed up with.

If I understand what you're saying, if you decide to get Facebook to send a Forgot password link to "firstnamelastname@gmail.com" it will show up in your email box (assuming they're not fishing/trojan emails of course and that is actually one of the email in FB for that account).
posted by skynxnex at 1:59 PM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I understand what you're saying, if you decide to get Facebook to send a Forgot password link to "firstnamelastname@gmail.com" it will show up in your email box

Alas, not an option. I can either 'Log in to Google (if you aren't already) to quickly reset your password.', which results in 'The email account you're logged into does not match the email on your Facebook account.' (I'm presuming because of the dot - I realise gmail makes no distinctions here, but maybe facebook does?) or I can get a link e-mailed to an address which isn't mine, and which doesn't show up in my account like all the status updates. (And an aside to those suggesting contact via facebook - I've no account of my own and would ideally like to keep it that way). A filter to delete these bastards before they arrive sounds like it might be the best option. (Latest update: "iGuess rong for thinkin I could trust you ♥". Awww.)
posted by robself at 2:08 PM on October 11, 2012


I've come slightly closer to replicating the activity you're seeing.

- I added an additional address to my FB account (which required acknowledgement of a confirmation email).
- I deleted that same address
- Logged out of FB
- clicked the "Forgot my password" link and entered the email address I had just deleted from my account.

FB did identify my account from the "deleted" address, and offered to send a password reset email to the addresses which were still associated with the account—all displayed as asterisk-redacted—but not to the "deleted" address I had used to find the account.

So what you're seeing on the password reset page is what you would see if this person had already realized she had an incorrect email address associated with the account and deleted that address. But it still doesn't explain a) how the address got on the account in the first place (since that should have required a confirmation email), and b) why you're still receiving notifications at that address.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:15 PM on October 11, 2012


None of the following links to FB require logins, but I can't promise they won't set cookies if you're paranoid. Have you tried using Email address already in use form to report this? Or their more general TOS violation page. Can't promise it'll work, but it might, if you run out of other options.

Poking around their helpcenter some more, there's also a Removing Information from Facebook's Database that has an option for somebody without an account that they claim might make it possible to delete the email from FB for good.
posted by skynxnex at 2:20 PM on October 11, 2012


there's also a Removing Information from Facebook's Database

Ooo, that looks promising...

--
Hi,

We have received your request to remove personal data from our database. Our records indicate that we currently do not have this email address stored on our servers.

--

Oh.

And yet, if I go directly to Facebook.com, click 'forgot your password?' and enter firstnamelastname@gmail.com, a little picture of my friend pops up with the 2 password reset options I mentioned above that are no use. So, they clearly do have my address stored in some capacity. Rashnfrashn!
posted by robself at 2:30 PM on October 11, 2012


a little picture of my friend pops up

Does it also give her name when you do that? If so, is it something you might guess a**********l from?

Also, a side note: I suspect the status updates you're seeing are not from the person with the problematic account, but one of her friends. AFAIK, FB does not notify you of your own activity. In fact, I just spent some time poking around FB's notification settings and couldn't find a way to make it email me my own status updates if I wanted to. Not sure that helps, but you may want to be careful to not assume that the person writing those updates is the person with the problem account.

Another thought: we haven't completely ruled out spoof emails, although the more you describe the less likely it seems. Have you looked at the full message headers to see if it's really coming from FB? (Not the "From:" address, which is as easily faked as the return address on a postal envelope.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:56 PM on October 11, 2012


AFAIK, FB does not notify you of your own activity.

Indeed, I think the account belongs to a Firstname Lastname who is great friends with Barbie (who has uploaded a photo: "A boy can make a baby a man can take care of one ♥") - being greeted with a name and a photo when I try to attempt to forget my password directly with Facebook seems to suggest that they are genuine updates; certainly the headers seem legit, and none of the links go anywhere funky. The unfathomable bit is the end of the mails stating "This message was sent to firstnamelastname@gmail.com. If you don't want to receive these emails from Facebook in the future, please click: unsubscribe." when facebook claim not to have any record of the address. My own personal slice of Kafka.
posted by robself at 3:11 PM on October 11, 2012


skynxnex - not to derail, but this started happening to me around the time Google converted googlemail users (in the UK, I think) to just gmail. So someone had mynamelastname@googlemail.com and then when the conversion happened .. I started getting a lot of weird email.

Regardless.

Someone using your email address is an annoying hell and I feel for the OP.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:22 PM on October 11, 2012


being greeted with a name and a photo when I try to attempt to forget my password

Yeah, I think it's this person—let's call her Alice—whose account somehow got associated with your email address, not Barbie.

But even if we could identify and communicate with Alice, I doubt it would help. Based on my own experiments, I strongly suspect that if Alice went into her profile and looked at the email address(es) there, your address wouldn't show up there either. Obviously it's hooked to that account behind the scenes somewhere, but I think whatever is causing FB not to acknowledge that would also cause your address not to show up in her profile settings. Even if you could talk to Alice, I don't know what you would tell her to do.

At this point, I'm with yohko—just filter the emails. There doesn't seem to be anything malicious going on, and since you don't want a FB account it doesn't matter that the address is connected to another account. If you did want to register a FB account with that address, that might be problematic. I'm actually kinda curious what would happen if you did try to register a new FB account with that address, but if you don't want one it's beside the point.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:51 PM on October 11, 2012


At this point, I'm with yohko—just filter the emails.

Yup, I'll go with this for now. If I ever change my facebook-resisting mind and try and sign up with my own e-mail address I will update with news of fresh hell, no doubt. Cheers, all!
posted by robself at 11:42 PM on October 11, 2012


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