Gmail Flags Legit Senders as Spammers

John Lister's picture

Google has fixed an unusual bug that mistakenly implied trusted contacts might be spammers. It asked users to make a decision about future filtering but took no notice of the reply.

The good news is that the fix removes the unwanted messages and the filtering now appears to be working as intended.

The bug involves the way Google will occasionally highlight a message sender as a potential source of unwanted emails. Users can then click one button to block all future messages from the sender.

Once the bug took effect, many more users than usual started seeing the message, which read:

"Do you want to continue receiving messages from this sender? Please give us feedback about this message. We won't ask you about this sender again, although you can always unsubscribe or mark it as spam in the future." (Source:

Legit Users Flagged

The bug involved two unusual things with the message. The first is that users were seeing it in cases where the sender was known to them and was perfectly legitimate. That left many users confused about why the message was appearing and whether, for example, their trusted contact's email account had been hijacked.

The other problem was that the message kept reappearing on future messages from the relevant senders, even if the user had clicked or tapped the option to block them for being a spammer. It's not entirely clear if the bug also affected cases where the message was genuine and Google really did suspect the sender was a spammer.

Don't Dismiss Warnings

Google hasn't given many details about what caused the problem other than it affected both consumer and enterprise (business) users. It was able to stop it reoccurring on new emails, but took a couple of days to work out how to remove the message from previous emails that were sent during a period of about three-and-a-half hours. (Source:

With the bug fixed, users should continue to pay attention to Gmail warning messages and treat them seriously. Taking advantage of the offer to block a sender will often be worthwhile if it's an unknown source and there isn't an obvious suggestion something has gone wrong.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you seen such messages on Gmail before? Do you follow its suggestion for senders to block? How useful and accurate do you find Gmail's spam filtering?

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Focused100's picture

Gmail's spam filters are sometimes over aggressive, However, I'd rather have it that way than the reverse since I check the spam folder regularly and If I mark an email not spam it generally does not wind up in spam again. A neat trick. If you want to opt out of say a political message just make it as spam and they'll never know you opted out but you won't be bothered again. I was getting up to 20 emails a DAY from a certain candidate. Ijust marked them as spam and moved on and they never knew the difference.