This story was originally published 2020/07/01
5:25am PDTon Jul 1, 2020 and last updated 2020/07/04
12:09am PDTon Jul 4, 2020.
Spam filters are a thing we rely on every single day to protect us from an overwhelming amount of unwanted messages, but we rarely think about the technology behind them when everything works. When the algorithms do break, all hell breaks loose, as we suddenly realize how many emails get filtered regularly. That’s an experience some Gmail users have been going through over the last few days, as Google’s spam filters appear to have been on strike for them. Google confirmed the bug is now fixed.
A lot of Twitter users, mostly but not only across Europe, have been reporting problems, though the influx of new tweets on the topic dwindled a few days ago. Similar stories have popped up on Reddit, and while some people say that the issue has been fixed, others are continuing to receive spam mails delivered straight to their inboxes. Google also posted some updates on a resolved service disruption to its G Suite dashboard concerning some users’ problems with delayed sending and receiving of emails, which might be connected to the spam issue.
Personally, I haven’t noticed any spam reaching my inbox, but I’m lucky enough to receive very little spam at my personal email address anyway. However, some of the mails that usually go straight to my inbox’ Updates tab have been popping up in Primary over the last few hours, and I have a hunch that this might be related to the problems.
A Google spokesperson has provided us with a statement, saying that the company fixed the problem:
We have identified and since fixed the issue of a small number of promotional emails and spam being incorrectly sent to users’ primary inboxes. During this time, scans to filter malware and the most egregious spam and harmful content remained fully operational. Additionally, Gmail users remained protected by the many other features such as link protections and download time security scans which apply for messages in the inbox.
We have no reason to believe any accounts were compromised as a result. If you happen to notice a suspicious email, we encourage you to report it as spam. More information on how to report spam can be found by visiting our Help Center.”