Microsoft's Outlook: Cloudy with a chance of junk-mail-stuffed inboxes
Redmond fixed the spam filtering problem, but it was a wild day-long ride for some
Many Outlook users around the world woke up Monday morning to find a flood of spam and junk messages filling up their inboxes and they took to the internet to air their complaints.
On social media sites like Reddit and Twitter as well as in questions sent to Microsoft Support, users complained that dozens of such messages that normally are filtered out were sitting in their inboxes. Some added that problems with Outlook spam filters have been an annoying issue dating back to the fall, though it has not been as bad as they saw this week.
One user on Reddit said she "woke up to find 20 emails that normally go to junk all in my inbox. I've had this hotmail account for 20+ years and have always had my settings set up so that only friends and family can go to my inbox. I have it all set up very specifically so that just about everything goes to junk. And now, every single thing is going to my inbox. I've had to turn off notifications because my phone wouldn't stop dinging."
Another wrote on the Microsoft Support page that they were having the same problem, with 52 spam or junk messages greeting them Monday morning and wondering if their account had been hacked.
On the Microsoft Support Twitter page, support personnel since Monday were apologizing to users and inviting them to contact them via a direct message.
By 0800 ET (1300 UTC) Tuesday, Microsoft began telling users via Twitter that the spam filter issue was being checked by engineers and that a fix was being worked on. Within an hour, the Support team was sending responses saying that "our Outlook engineer has delivered a fix on this Junk filter issue," with a link to an Office status page that read, "We're all good! Everything is up and running."
Microsoft didn't detail what the problem was. The Register has asked Microsoft for a response and we'll update the story if one is sent.
Outlook has been a source of recent frustration for users. On February 6, Outlook went down worldwide for about 12 hours until the Microsoft was able to fix the problem. When the problem first arose, Microsoft attributed the outage to an issue routing email traffic, saying a "subset of infrastructure" responsible for routing traffic stopped responding to traffic requests.
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Downdetector noted a sharp spike in the number of problems reported Monday morning as people signed back into Outlook and another bump Tuesday morning.
Junk messages and spam filtering issues have been an ongoing headache for some users. One said on Reddit that they've seen a "huge increase in spam since beginning of Q4-2022."
Another said that for months, they've gotten "about 10 to 15 [spam messages in their inbox] a day, then go to bed and wake up and boom, another 14 spam in my inbox about AARP, HelloFresh, FedEx, and other ones that they try to make look legit." ®