Google Drive has a serious spam problem. The sharing feature Drive offers opens up anyone and everyone to a whole world of spam. What’s even worse is that people have been complaining about the feature for a while now, and Google has done nothing to fix it.
Google Drive and the Spam You Can’t Get Rid Of
Google Drive and The Case of Spam – Full Story
It seems that Google Drive’s file sharing feature has been causing some users a lot of problems. In case you haven’t used the feature before, it’s pretty simple: anyone can share any file with anyone else. The access you get to those files can be “view only” “comment only” or “edit”.
Now, the problem here is that you don’t have to accept a file for it to land into your Drive. The moment someone shares anything with you, it automatically ends up in the “Quick Access” and the “Shared with you” section of your Drive. If you don’t open the file, then it doesn’t get downloaded onto your Drive or synced with any of your other devices. However, it will always be there in the “Quick Access” area. To top it all off, you can’t even remove yourself from the shared file/folder.
So, basically, anyone can share a file with you… any file what-so-ever… and you won’t be able to do anything about it.
Oddly enough, this problem isn’t really new either. In fact, in October 2017, many people complained about being added to a public Team Drive that contains “terabytes of copyright infringing material.”
Now, over a year later, Google has still not fixed this glaring vulnerability. However, in a statement made to HowToGeek, Google stated that,
“For the vast majority of users, the default sharing permissions in Drive work as intended…In light of this issue, we are evaluating changes to our spam, abuse, and blocking features that will prevent this kind of activity from taking place on Drive.”
What Can You Do About Protecting Your Google Drive?
Nothing. Sadly, if Google doesn’t fix this problem there’s really not much anyone can do.
If you’re on a folder/file you want out of and happen to have editing permission, you can simply remove yourself from the folder. This will remove the file from your “Shared with me” folder, but it will still show up in your search results and “Quick Access” folder. Simply right-click the file and select the “Remove” option.
Sadly, if you accidentally open the folder again (from within the Quick Access area, for example) then it pops right back up in your Drive.
Another option you can try is reporting the folder as “spam”. The problem here is that Google Drive’s spam feature is very moody, it sometimes works but most of the time when I tried it, it gave me a 404 error. If you want to try your luck out, here’s how to report something as spam on Drive:
- Open the document. Click on Help.
- Choose Report abuse/copyright.
- Pick the reason why you’re reporting. In this case, we’re going with Spam but you can also choose a more specific reason if it fits the options Google offers you to choose from.
- Click on Submit Report.
Other than that, we just have to wait for Google to finally do something about this and a whole slew of vulnerabilities as well.
Google Drive and File Sharing – Final Thoughts
So, what do you guys think about Google’s faulty Drive? For me, the fact that this is something that was reported on over a year ago to no avail paints Google in quite an unflattering light. After all of the data breaches and problems going on in Big Tech, something as simple as allowing users to accept or reject a file shouldn’t take this long. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.