Is this illegal - or simply irritating and unacceptable?

No doubt someone on this forum will know the answer.
I sent a friend the URL of a car rental firm by text message. When I sent the text, an advert for that firm appeared below it (see attached photograph), and was sent, together with the text.
I consider this extrememely irritating, and an encroachment on my privacy - how can a firm be allowed to tamper with my text messages?
It’s the first time this has happened to me - can anyone tell me whether it’s legal or not?

I doubt it is illegal (but it of course depends on where you are – you don’t say). What phone/OS do you use? I have never had this problem with an iPhone.

You could contact the Information Comissioner’s Office if you’re in the UK.

Certain phones / os have a preview setting when you text a url.


I’m a French resident. I’ve been told the French equivalent of the ICO is CNIL.

It’s not an advert. When you send a hyperlink in a text it may show up as MMS (multi-media messaging) as opposed to SMS (short-message).
When it’s MMS you get graphics from the site of the hyperlink (similar to the one you have experienced).
There likely is an option on your phone to turn this off on your phone, but it’s not an advert. You’re just seeing a page from the hyperlink.


Thanks for your replies - as far as I’m concerned, it is an advert in all but name…

Yes and in iMessage in iPhones and WhatsApp and Signal, they all do the same (and in the Naim forum come to that).

You can prevent it happening if you just change the URL link in some way or stop the software from identifying that it’s a URL.

I will do that of course, but should this be allowed in the first place? Again, thanks for your replies, and there are more important issues, I suppose…

I don’t understand why you are asking if it should be ‘allowed’. You are sending a hyperlink/url address and that address simply displays the page related to that address. It’s an essential function of how the internet works as a series of pages each with an individual url/address. Most of these are disguised but without them the internet simply wouldn’t function. A company page will be about its business, a news page will have headlines, a university page might be about research, etc, ad infinitum. If you don’t want pages displayed via urls don’t send the link.


change the syntax of the message, instead of you can send youtube_dot_com for example

It’s called a live link and it’s a very important feature which I strongly support. Someone wondering about clicking on the URL you are sending them can see a small version of what they will get if they click on it. And decide whether to click or not.


Your link had a preview no big deal.


Ok, thanks for the information, now I understand better.
I have of course enabled the preview function now, and I will change the syntax if I have to send another URL. I still find that a bit annoying…

Most message apps show a preview of the URL, in the very same way as it happens when you post an URL here in the forum

Edit: as many others already pointed out


At least you didn’t send somebody a photo/advert of Sexy Sadie from Swindon. :grinning:


Am I the only one curious to see what googling “Sexy Sadie from Swindon” reveals?



O.K., so who’s going to be the first, and report back to the rest of us? :open_mouth:

Started an Onlyfans and moved to Surbiton apparently.


Dammit. All I got was Beatles…

I must be doing something wrong.

I think this is down to a misunderstanding.

You sent your friend a link to a company’s website. That’s like tearing an advert out of a magazine and giving that to your friend.

If you had instead sent your friend the name of the company, that’s all they would have seen.

Changing the syntax so that you can send someone a link to a website without them seeing a preview is a bit silly. The whole point of sending someone a link is so they can click it, if they want to. Them seeing a preview of the website is a very useful feature so they know what it will take them to before clicking it.