Almost every day I hear of friends, clients and colleagues who have found themselves thrown into Facebook exile - a (usually) temporary state where a users entire account or some of Facebook's services such as messenger are denied to them.
The results can be devastating to a small business as even a temporary sanction can impact their ability to function, effectively closing the lines of communication with what is often their biggest audience. With this in mind it is essential that we understand how to avoid being locked out of the network and prevent the total loss of your account for a seemingly minor indiscretion.
Most blocks on Facebook can be easily avoided by better understanding and following their rules. Unfortunately most people do not familiarise themselves with the conditions under which Facebook requires you to operate and the penalty can often be severe.
Of course, most of us simply do not have time to read the terms and conditions under which Facebook insists we use their services, and so I thought it would be a good idea to neatly sum it up in a series of blog posts - this being the first.
In reality Facebook punishes offenders in one of two ways, either on a permanent or temporary basis. A permanent block is the most serious of all outcomes and clearly a worst case scenario. Aimed at serious spammers and hackers the account is closed and all access denied. The only way around this is to create a new account - but in order to do so, you will need a new email and phone number as Facebook will have associated the old ones as spam.
A temporary block sounds like a minor inconvenience, however it will disable some of your account services for a limited period of time, only allowing you to access them again after that time has passed.
Usually, the punishment will fit the crime meaning if you are blocked due to your activity in groups then the sanction imposed is likely to be a restriction on posting in any other groups, likewise if you have been sent to Facebook jail after sending too many messages to unknown people, you'll be prevented from using messenger for a few days. Sending too many rejected friend requests will see your ability to add to your network blocked for a period of time.
Facebook usually apply a temporary block - as a sort of caution to the user, but if you carry on doing the same thing again and again, a permanent block is likely.
So, what is the answer? Well, there are some ways of working that will prevent your account from being seen as that of a spammer. Depending on the business you are in, many of these suggestions will seem inconvenient and require you to re-think your approach, however they are the best methods that we know for preventing a devastating blow to the marketing efforts of your business.
Many Direct Sales and MLM leaders will try to get their teams to do exactly the activities which may cause you to land in jail - in fact it is sometimes seen as a badge of honour - but in reality, no serious network marketer would want to deny themselves access to one of the biggest and most effective network marketing platforms ever known.
Why Do Facebook block people?
Facebook have a corporate and a moral responsibility to keep their users safe and so they monitor everyone's activity - punishing those who violate their rules by restricting their access to the sites services.
Although the vast majority of account holders are using them for positive means, there are others with less honourable intent. Hackers, terrorists, criminals and spammers are all using the social media platform to target their victims.
Not only do Facebook keep track of your activities, but they also encourage other users to report activity which may not have been picked up by their own monitoring. If another users is offended or finds your activity annoying then he or she can report it to Facebook manually - allowing the team to review and then take suitable action against you.
What Sort of Things Put Me At Risk?
Facebook has very clear rules about what can and can't be done on its platform and violating these rules will result in you being blocked. Some activities will flag up to Facebook automatically - others will be flagged by the Facebook community. Unfortunately not everyone identifies that their actions are in violation of the rules and so many users simply copy what they have seen others do.
The following list is not exhaustive, but will help identify which activities should be more closely considered.
1) Sending out friend requests to people with whom you have no obvious link
2) Rejection of friend requests or requests to join groups.
3) Tagging people who are not in the photo
4) Having your post deleted from a group or page
5) Sending message requests to people which are then ignored
6) Posting of the same text or content in multiple places - especially within a short time period
7) Posting business related links in your personal timeline
8) Using the same image that others are posting
9) Use of images which have previously been reported for Spam
10) Sending messages to large groups of people
11) Having people in your groups or friends lists who report you - not everyone is supportive!
12) Having a big team of people who hang on your words and then copy and paste them. Consider going back to videos to communicate with the team.
Is it too late? Are you already in Facebook Jail? Take a look at my next blog post to find out what to do next,