Are you seeing messages in your Facebook business page’s inbox from users like: “Guest 5837” or “Guest 3588?” You’re not alone. It’s part of a new feature rollout from Meta that’s, so far, leading to an uptick in spam messages for many business pages. Here’s what’s going on and how to respond and/or adjust your page settings accordingly.
How It Works
Meta recently rolled out a chat plugin that allows Facebook business pages to receive messages from guest accounts. What’s a guest account, exactly? According to Meta, guest users receive temporary Facebook accounts they can use to send and receive direct messages. Stated another way, users don’t need to be logged into Facebook–or have an account at all–in order to send a Facebook chat message to a Facebook business page. The guest chat opens when a user who is not signed into their profile submits a message to a business page; the chat ends or closes when the user decides to end it, or 24 hours after there is no longer activity in the chat.
Unfortunately, the ability to anonymously send messages using Facebook chat is creating opportunities for scammers to spam business pages in a new way. This is happening on the heels of another scam that claims your Facebook page has been disabled.
Here’s an example of a spam message from a guest user to a Facebook business page.
How You Know It’s a Scam
It’s important to note that not all Facebook guest messages are necessarily spam. Some users may be legitimately reaching out for a legitimate reason. Here are some signs that the message in your inbox is spam:
Typos, spelling errors, grammar issues, and just overall awkward language are all red flags. Proceed with caution if you see these in a message.
Scammers often use urgency to stress out their targets, forcing them to act quickly without thinking critically and generally against their better judgment. Be cautious.
Always be cautious about links. Look at them closely for letters that are reversed, slightly off, or typoed. Do not click on anything you’re unsure about.
- Prizes & Money
Verbiage about cryptocurrency, trading, making cash, claiming cash or other winnings or prizes should always be cause for pause.
What To Do
First, avoid clicking or following any links. Second, size up the message and determine if it’s legitimate. Escalate anything that appears to have one of more of the above telltale signs of a scam to the appropriate individual(s) within your organization. If you did happen to already click the link, don’t do anything else. Definitely do not put in your credit card or payment information. Lastly, open the dot menu at the top of the message and select: Move to Spam.
How to Block Guest Accounts from Messaging Your Page
If you want to prevent these types of guest users from being able to message your Facebook business page(s) moving forward, there’s a way to do that. If you’re in a regulated sector, keep in mind that legal or compliance may need to be consulted or notified, though this likely does not present issues because students and community members remain able to contact you through various other channels.
- From the inbox screen, select the settings icon.
- From the menu at left, select Chat Plugin.
- Choose Customize your Chat Plugin to expand the menu options.
- Toggle the Guest Chat function off.
Protect your Business Page
As a best practice, it’s important to consider the systems and processes your school or district uses to surface, create, approve, and manage social media. Securing your accounts in a way that relegates access permissions through a central platform can help ensure that students and staff have only the access level they need–keeping your accounts inherently safer. Class Intercom is designed to do exactly that, providing the appropriate level of access needed to everyone from student users to district-level PR professionals at the individual school level or the district level. Through the platform, students can have the ability to draft and edit content, without access to receive or respond to messages (from either legitimate accounts or scammers).
Interested in learning more about how Class Intercom has become the go-to social media management platform for schools and districts? Reach out to email@example.com or contact us below to learn more.