If you’ve noticed a recent uptick in bots sending you friend requests on Facebook, you’re not alone. Lifehacker writer Emily Price said she became irritated by this surge of spammy activity and decided to do something about it.
“Since January 1, I’ve started each morning by clearing out a dozen or so friend requests from Facebook, all of them from people I don’t know,” Price wrote. “I’m not exactly sure why all these great new bots, many of which appear to be non-English-speaking, are suddenly interested in my virtual friendship, but I do know that their presence is pretty annoying.”
Thankfully, Facebook has a little-known privacy setting available that lets you control who can send you friend requests. However, its default is to allow everyone — even fake accounts — to hit you up.
To utilize this setting, click the arrow in the top-right of the Facebook desktop version. Select Settings from the drop-down menu, then click Privacy. From there, click the Edit button next to “Who can send you friend requests?” Then, change it from “Everyone” to “Friends of Friends.” Assuming your friends haven’t fallen for a similar bot scheme, you should be in the clear. However, this doesn’t address the real underlying problem — why are there so many of these spammy accounts in the first place, and why have they seemingly become more active lately?
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