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My client has a custom unsubscribe page using cloud pages (Using CloudPgeURL function) in all emails. When a subscriber receives the email and forwards it to a friend, the friend is able to click on the unsubscribe link and unsubscribe which is recorded against the original subscriber. We would like to avoid this. Is there a way to inactivate a link for email forwards? Or any other way to avoid this?

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Forwards are a general topic that you cannot stop from happening, as FTAF (a specific function served by SFMC) is not the only way to forward an email. In fact, it is probably a rare exception, if implemented. If an FTAF link is implemented, you can do something, see end of post.

However:

Most people simply press "forward" in their email client (say, gmail), and since you have no access to the recipient side / client, there is nothing you can do to stop that. In fact, you won't even be able to track it or notice that it happens;

This gets even more problematic when you include links in your emails that surface data, as forwards are a "backdoor" of sorts how the wrong people could get access to this data on a preference center or similar.

The only way to block this unsubscription without the real user's consent would be a "double opt out" process where you send an email to the original inbox for the user to confirm that it was really them.

This raises a lot of other questions ("why do you make it so hard to unsubscribe"), so I am not sure it's something that can be recommended.

Definitely a dilemma, but the technical solutions are limited to the actual FTAF - Forward to a friend link / function, which comes with a HUGE gap (all of the above).

You can target that specific scenario using:

%%[ IF _messageContext != "FTAF" THEN
]%%
<!--show link here-->
%%[
ENDIF ]%%

https://ampscript.guide/system-strings/

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  • Thanks! I thought the same thing, technical capabilities are limited when it comes to FTAF. Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 13:02

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