Why does my SharePoint News digest not reach my colleagues?

Since a few weeks I am also on Mastodon (@ellenvanaken@mastodon.social) and there I happened upon this question from @almostwitty:

“Does anyone know how to manage the SharePoint “News you might have missed” feature? Some people aren’t getting them and I have no idea why…”

I thought that was a great question, so I started investigating, including the regular News Digest option as well, since issues can occur there too.
I focused on technical/functional reasons, reading “not getting them” as “not receiving them in their mailbox” rather than not understanding what they are about. (But there’s an explanation on how it works from Microsoft in this post as well!)

There are three levels where email newsletters can go wrong: organizational (because of settings or email issues), sender or recipient issues or actions.
In the case of organizational issues, most likely the whole organization, or a specific part of it (e.g. a specific email domain or location), will not have receive the digest.
In case of individuals who have not received it, the issue is harder to identify and solve.

A. Regular News Digest

This is a newsletter with a hand-picked selection of news, sent by a site owner (sender) to an email list or group of colleagues (recipients). You may want to check my earlier post “10 things to know about the SharePoint News digest”
Always think carefully before you decide to send a News digest – not everyone likes to receive “even more stuff to read” from their organization!

In the following cases someone or more people may not receive it:

1. Organization: There has been an email glitch in your organizations Outlook/Exchange

Check with your Microsoft365 admins if this is the case. The glitch can affect all your organization, or parts of it, e.g. with a different email address.

2. Sender: You have exceeded the Outlook sending limitations

Check the sending limitations here. E.g. you have sent your newsletter to more than 500 people, of you have sent too many emails in one day. The limits appear to be lower for people who have been in the organization shortly and have no reliable reputation yet.
Solutions may be to send the newsletter in smaller batches, to use organization-wide groups instead of individuals (any group that is in your Company Directory), or to send the newsletter from a different email address. (e.g. a department mailbox rather than your personal email)

3. Sender: you have more than 256 characters in your subject line

See all Exchange Online limitations (link below) under “Messaging limitations”.
A more complete, but more complicated overview of all Exchange Online limits here.

Please create a shorter subject line.

4. Sender: your digest mail is seen as Junk Mail

This has happened to me when I first sent some digests, because I sent it to a lot of people who had never had any interaction with me.

Please inform colleagues that you are starting an email newsletter, monitor delivery of your first digest, train your colleagues how to add senders of in-company newsletters to their safe senders and ask them to check their Junk Email folder on a regular basis.
It can also help to send the digest not from your personal email, but from an organizational account, e.g. Communications, or Department XYZ.

5. Recipient: Has deliberately blocked your email address, reported earlier newsletters as Junk and/or has set a Rule to send your mails to the Deleted Items

While option 4 is more or less an accident, this one is a deliberate action. There is no “Unsubscribe” option for SharePoint News digests, so every employee who is not happy to receive and read your mail will find ways to avoid it. Your digest will probably be in their Junk Email or Deleted Items.

It may be good to inform colleagues about the benefits of the News digests. Additionally you could train them how to add senders of in-company newsletters to their safe senders and to to check their Junk Email folder on a regular basis.

6. Recipient has accidentally deleted or archived the mail

Sometimes I do that too – I delete something by simply pressing the wrong button, swiping the wrong way, etc. Sometimes it is because I am interrupted while reading email, sometimes I decide too fast that this is not interesting, it can be anything really, and nothing personal! 😊

The email may be in the Deleted Items or in the Archive.

7. Recipient’s mailbox is full

Especially when your organization has many F3-licenses, it may happen that their mailbox (only 2 GB) is full and can no longer receive emails, even though the News digest is a small email in size. Check out the Quirks of the F3 license.

There’s not much you can do there. The recipient will have received one or more warnings to clean up their mailbox.

B. News you might have missed:

This is an automated digest of items that you have access to, may be relevant for you (according to the Microsoft Graph) but have not read yet. More info from Microsoft.

In this case, there are only organizational or recipient issues. People may not receive this for the following reasons:

8. Organization: it has been disabled on organizational level

Microsoft provides information on how to do that. You may want to discuss with the Microsoft365 admins (and others involved) to turn it on again, because there may have been a good reason to disable the functionality.

9. Organization: There has been an email glitch in your organizations Outlook/Exchange

(Similar to 1.) Check with your Microsoft365 admins if this is the case. The glitch can affect all your organization, or parts of it, e.g. with a different email address.

10. Recipient: There is no news that they have missed

They may have read all there is to read. That may be because they have been a colleague for only a short time and does not have access to many sites yet.

11. Recipients have turned off their subscription in the email or on their SharePoint page

This is ON by default. At the bottom of the email there is a link called “Notification settings” that takes you to a page in the SharePoint homepage where you can disable this digest.

Screenshot of the bottom of the "News you may have missed" email, with the link to change your notification settings.
You can disable this automated digest here.

You can also do this from the SharePoint home page by clicking the gear wheel > Email notification settings.

Screenshot of the SharePoint landing page and the menu under the gear wheel. With "Email notification settings" you can turn the digest off.
On the SharePoint landing page you can also turn off this digest.

In both cases, you will go to the below page where you can toggle off the button at the bottom.

Screenshot of the Notification settings page where you can determine if you want to receive "News you might have missed" or not.
If you do not want to receive “News you might have missed” you can set this button to “Off”

12. Recipient: Has deliberately blocked noreply@sharepointonline.com, reported earlier digests as Junk and/or has set a Rule to send mails from this sender to the Deleted Items

(Similar to 5.) This is a deliberate action. The digest will probably be in their Junk Email or Deleted Items.

You may want to inform users that blocking noreply@sharepointonline.com is not a good idea, as they will also not receive other mails about their SharePoint sites and documents. (e.g. auto-deletion of Teams recordings) Creating awareness about this email may be good idea, as is teaching them how to disable the “News you might have missed” email instead, as explained in 11, if they really do not want it.

13. Recipient has accidentally deleted or archived the mail

(Similar to 6.)

The email may be in the Deleted Items or in the Archive. Again, creating awareness about this email may be a good idea, and you may also want to teach them how to disable it properly if they do not want to receive it.

14. Recipient’s mailbox is full

(Similar to 7). The mailbox of F3-licensed users (only 2 GB) may be full and can no longer receive emails, even though this is a small email in size. Check out the Quirks of the F3 license.

There’s not much you can do there. The recipient will have received one or more warnings to clean up their mailbox.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why someone does not receive a SharePoint News digest or a “News you might have missed” digest. The reasons can be on organization, sender and recipient level, and may be deliberate or accidental. That makes it hard to troubleshoot, but I hope I given you a few ideas to start with. Good luck!

Please let me know if I have forgotten any!

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