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GDPR Concern: Members receiving subscription email notification when they are not subscribed

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  • [Forum] GDPR Concern: Members receiving subscription email notification when they are not subscribed

    Hello!

    I run vBulletin 4.2.5. About 1 month ago I received the first worrying messages from ex-members (members who asked to have their account deleted and we deleted them) who kept receiving email notifications for threads they had subscribed to even if their accounts were already deleted. These members were very angry about this matter because they clearly didn't want to be part of the community anymore.

    When GDPR came in law, we decided to mass delete all the subscriptions because we were afraid we'll receive complaints from the deleted members who still received email notifications. It looked like we didn't actually delete all their information from our database, which is a problem according GDPR.

    So, we deleted ALL subscriptions, as I said, and we posted an announcement for members to resubscribe to the threads they wanted to be subscribed to.

    About a week ago (after the mass deletion of subscriptions) we received several messages from active members who now receive email notifications each hour to threads that have no new posts and to threads they did NOT subscribe to. I checked and tried to delete the subscriptions of those members again in Admin CP but they were not subscribed to any threads yet they kept receiving emails. They even had 'Do not subscribe' in their options, yet emails keep flooding their inboxes. They said this problem didn't happen before the mass deletion of the old subscriptions. Now even if they change the account email, they keep receiving the email notifications on the old email they previously used.

    Members are very bothered and with the GDPR in action, we are very stressed about this matter. It's like we don't respect their privacy and their own settings. What can be done?

  • #2
    This doesn't happen on a default installation.

    Are there any mails showing as queued in the admincp?
    MARK.B | vBULLETIN SUPPORT

    TalkNewsUK - My vBulletin 5.4.2 Demo - FEATURING "ROUTE BY NODE"!
    AdminAmmo - My Cloud Demo

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    • #3
      In the Admin CP of vBulletin? Where should I look for an email queue?

      I looked however for the email queue in the server's CPanel and there are just a few emails in queue, all 'Happy Birthday' emails, no subscription email.

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      • #4
        What did you actually do to delete the subscriptions?
        MARK.B | vBULLETIN SUPPORT

        TalkNewsUK - My vBulletin 5.4.2 Demo - FEATURING "ROUTE BY NODE"!
        AdminAmmo - My Cloud Demo

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        • #5
          I truncated the
          subscribediscussion
          subscribeevent
          subscribeforum
          subscribegroup
          subscribethread
          subscription
          subscriptionlog
          subscriptionpermission

          tables in the database and then optimized those tables. Did I do something wrong or did I miss something?

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          • #6
            So? Any suggestions? Did I do something wrong? I assume vB specialists should know better.

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            • #7
              Hello? It's been 7 days and still no answer.... My members keep complaining.

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              • #8
                Suggest you submit a support ticket. You've probably fried your database.

                Either that or restore to a version of your database prior to the changes you made which created this problem.
                Psychlinks Mental Health Support Forum
                Local Search Forum

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                • #9
                  I am handling this in a support ticket. I will post the ultimate resolution in case anyone has a similar issue. In the mean time my initial reply was as follows-


                  If a user has been deleted from the database their email address no longer exists, it is simply impossible they would still be receiving new emails from subscriptions.

                  One of two things are possible-

                  1) Your "Email Queue" is very backed up and is sending emails days, perhaps even weeks later than they were generated. You can check the email queue by going to the main page of the Admin CP. The number of emails in the queue is reported in the table at the top of the Admin CP along with the PHP version and other important information. The number should be at or near 0 on sites sending email properly.

                  2) Users have joined under more that one username. vBulletin doesn't require unique emails unless setup to do so. Please find the emails that are getting these subscriptions and search the users by email to make sure they don't exist.

                  What was not in the reply and only because I see it mentioned again here is that truncating the subscribethread table should unsubscribe all users from all threads, however it would do nothing to stop already queued emails from sending. Further I can't say for sure truncating the subscribediscussion and other tables was a good idea but it seems it would make sense those were safe to truncate.

                  Unfortunately the tables subscription, subscriptionlog, and subscriptionpermission have to do with paid subscriptions. If you offer paid subscriptions to your site truncating those tables has destroyed that. You will need to restore from a backup from before the tables were truncated. If you do not offer paid subscriptions you should be OK.

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                  • #10
                    And it turned out to be 64,000+ emails in the mail queue.

                    Truncating the mailqueue table will delete all the emails waiting to be sent and email settings should be adjusted to prevent it from overloading again.

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