Hotmail’s epic spam fail is the latest headache for Microsoft

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According to recent reports, Microsoft Hotmail (now officially known as Microsoft Outlook) has been having some issues with its junk email filtering systems, opening the floodgates to allow heaps of spam into users’ inboxes.

Users have taken to Twitter to voice their frustrations, but it’s unclear right now what is causing the problem. While Microsoft has reached out to some affected individuals on social media with invitations to DM to discuss the issue, there’s yet to be an official response declaring this to be the fault of a specific known bug or glitch.

While we don’t have any exact numbers on those affected, we can confirm that the problem is widespread – members of the TechRadar team (myself included) have been getting bombarded with spam emails all day long. 

Hotmail is now trending on Twitter too, which must be making some Microsoft execs particularly annoyed since these tweeters aren’t even using the proper name.

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Analysis: More trouble for big M

Microsoft has been having quite a year so far. The big-ticket event for the company was the reveal that the AI tool ChatGPT has been integrated into the Bing search engine (as well as the Microsoft Edge browser), but it took less than a week for the chatbot to start sending unhinged messages to users.

Now the tech giant is in trouble again, with users fuming at the torrent of dodgy emails landing in their inboxes. People are already posting memes about the supposed failure of the junk filter, with some speculating that somebody at Microsoft accidentally hit a switch they shouldn’t have – we feel the need to say that’s almost certainly not how it works, but it’s still an amusing thought.

In any case, there’s no proper fix available yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know when Microsoft sorts things out. Normally, Outlook/Hotmail allows you to set a specific level of junk filter protection; set it high and the automated system will aggressively target potential spam emails, although this does run the risk of sending actual legit emails to your junk folder.

Outlook (like most email platforms) also has the option to mark specific domains as spam sources, though this is rarely a helpful tool since email spammers typically use domain generators to bypass such filters. The spam filter issues are disrupting Outlook’s ‘focused inbox’ setting too, which is supposed to only show high-importance emails. 

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update this story when we receive a response.

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