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Check your Facebook Page before it is deleted: rule breakdown

Facebook has some surprisingly specific and strict guidelines when it comes to having a Facebook Page, and any violation can lead to permanent deletion of your Page without warning. You should definitely be aware of all of these rules, and that the company can delete your Page “for any reason,” they say.

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Facebook Page owners should be aware

While it is important to read all Terms of Service when using any website, we all know the reality is that people rarely do, but as a business, it is important to pay attention, particularly when it comes to Facebook Pages, because you can open your page one day and the entire thing has been shut down, just ask Hell Pizza in New Zealand.

“We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason,” Facebook says, and they are extremely serious. Without warning, your brand’s Facebook Page could be eliminated – content, fans, and all. There are ways to properly use Facebook Pages, and there are ways to get your Page completely removed from the face of the Facebook planet. Let’s talk about both.

Your Facebook Page cover photo

It seems like a good idea to use your cover photo the same way you would a roadside billboard, right? Wrong. You may not use your cover photo as an ad. Period. Here is what Facebook has banned from appearing in any cover photo, and any infraction may result in complete elimination of your Facebook Page forever (not to be dramatic, but in most cases, appeals fall on deaf ears, say our sources):

  1. No calls to action. You can’t say “get yours now” or “tell a friend” or anything like that in your cover photo.
  2. No contact information. You can’t list your website, phone number, email, address, or anything that Facebook believes should be in your “About” section.”
  3. No purchase information. You can’t say “40% off,” or “$99 special,” or “get yours now on our site.”
  4. No references to Facebook features or actions. You can’t tell people to “like” or “share” or put an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
  5. No images you do not own or have the right to use. Also, no deception or misleading visitors.
  6. No encouraging users to upload your cover image to their personal timeline.

Promotions on your Facebook Page

Promotions have always been tricky on Facebook because it is in their best interest to charge you for ad space and promotions, so they are extremely strict and unforgiving, which is why most brands are forced into using sweepstakes apps through Facebook.

The company disallows all of the following not only within a promotion on Facebook, but in advertising your promotion or referencing your promotion elsewhere:

  1. You cannot run any sort of competition, promotion, or sweepstakes on your Facebook Page using Facebook’s features and functionality. You can use one of the apps on Facebook to do it, but you cannot tell anyone to “like/share this update/photo/video for a chance to win,” or “the 1,000th fan wins,” or “photo with the most likes wins,” or even “add a comment to enter.”
  2. You cannot hold Facebook responsible, so you are required to include a disclaimer releasing Facebook from any liability (like “This contest is not associated with or endorsed by Facebook”), so you can include it in the terms of service of your app or your own website.
  3. You cannot collect information without disclosing who receives the information, making sure to note that Facebook is not collecting the data.
  4. You cannot use Facebook features as part of any promotion or participation other than liking your Page, checking in, or connecting to your app. You cannot automatically register any entrant based on a Facebook action (liking, checking in, etc.).
  5. You cannot notify winners through Facebook. You may not use a Facebook message, chat, a post on their wall or your Page, or anywhere on Facebook.

Your Facebook Page name

Facebook has restrictions on what you can and cannot name your Facebook Page and how it is formatted:

  1. Your Page name must match your company name.
  2. You cannot use generic terms and name your Page just “beer,” rather it must be “South Tennessee Hops Beer.”
  3. Your Page name cannot be in all capital letters unless your brand’s name is an acronym.
  4. You cannot use character symbols in the name of your Page, even trademark symbols, bullet points, or excessive punctuation.

The full terms

Click to visit the Facebook terms, or read below, the most recent Terms of Service as of publication of this story. Facebook is quite serious about these rules, and removal of a Page does not come with warning, is not usually restored, and is often brought to Facebook’s attention through someone flagging a page for Facebook’s review.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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63 Comments

63 Comments

  1. Trindy

    May 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Great reminder to anyone using FB for business purposes.

    We all get a little lazy when it comes to reading terms of service, that’s something we can’t afford to do as a business entity.

    I’d hate for all that hard work to go up in smoke!

    Thanks for the reminder and highlighting some important aspects of the TOS.

  2. Sheila McPhie Rasak

    May 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I demand a repost next week after my computer recovers from a virus attack. According to Best Buy’s Microsoft Movie maker got hacked. xo

  3. Nick Johnson

    May 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    We should all be aware of any potential changes. I think this is a little over-the-top though 🙂

  4. kaflamESQ

    June 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    @katemhamilton That IS sneaky! Thanks for the heads up!

    • katemhamilton

      June 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      @kaflamESQ Yep, but kind of cool too!

      • kaflamESQ

        June 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm

        @katemhamilton Agreed…more opportunities for getting someone to click..

        • katemhamilton

          June 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

          @kaflamESQ nice place for the person’s title to appear too, which is good if you use FB for professional reasons. (aka me) 🙂

  5. thehouseofpyne

    June 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    @katemhamilton That’s crazy! Thanx for the heads up!

    • katemhamilton

      June 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      @thehouseofpyne you bet lady!

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Social Media

Facebook pays $52M to content mods with PTSD, proving major flaw in their business

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook will pay out up to millions to former content moderators suffering PTSD to settle the 2018 class action lawsuit.

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Facebook’s traumatized former content moderators are finally receiving their settlement for the psychological damage caused by having to view extremely disturbing content to keep it off of Facebook.

The settlement is costing the company $52 million, distributed as a one time payment of $1,000 to each of the 10,000+ content moderators in four states. If any of these workers seek psychological help and are diagnosed with psychological conditions related to their jobs, Facebook also has to pay for that medical treatment. They pay up to $50,000 per moderator in additional damages (on a case-by-case basis).

Facebook also will offer psychological counseling going forward, and will attempt to create a type of screening for future candidates to determine a candidate’s emotional resiliency, and will make one-on-one mental health counseling available to content moderators going forward. They will also give moderators the ability to stop seeing specific types of reported content.

According to NPR, Steve Williams, a lawyer for the content moderators, said, “We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago. The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe.”

Honestly, this job is not for the faint of heart, to say the least. Like the hard-working, yet not unfazeable police officers on Law & Order SVU, seeing the worst of humanity takes a toll on one’s psyche. Facebook’s content moderators are only human, after all. These workers moderated every conceivable–and inconceivable–type of disturbing content people posted on the 2 billion-users-strong social media platform for a living. Some for $28,800 a year.

I wouldn’t last five minutes in this role. It is painful to even read about what these content moderators witnessed for eight hours a day, five days a week. While Facebook refuses to admit any wrongdoing, as part of the agreement, come on, man. Graphic and disturbing content that upset someone enough to report to Facebook is what these people viewed all day every day. It sounds almost like a blueprint for creating trauma.

This settlement surely sets the precedent for more class action lawsuits to come from traumatized content moderators on other social media platforms. The settlement also shows this business model for what it is: flawed. This isn’t sustainable. It’s disgusting to think there are people out there posting heinous acts, and I am grateful the platform removes them.

However, they have to come up with a better way. Facebook employs thousands upon thousands of really smart people who are brilliant at computer technology. Twitter and YouTube and similar platforms do, too. They need to come up with a better plan going forward, instead of traumatizing these unfortunate souls. I don’t know what that will look like. But with Facebook’s sky-high piles of money and access to so many brilliant minds, they can figure it out. Something’s got to give. Please figure it out.

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Social Media

Twitter will give users a warning before a harmful tweet is sent

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter is rolling out a new warning giving users a chance to edit their tweet before they post “harmful” language, and we aren’t sure how to feel about it.

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Twitter is testing out a new warning system for potentially offensive tweets. If a tweet contains language Twitter deems “harmful,” Twitter will pop up with a warning and opportunity to revise the potentially offensive tweet before posting. The warning mentions that language in the tweet is similar to previously reported tweets.

If internal alarms are going off in your head, congratulations, you are wary of any censorship! However, if you read a tweet spewing with bile, racism, or threatening violence against a person or institution, do you report it? Do you want Twitter to take it down? If you said yes, then congratulations, you want to protect the vulnerable and fight hatred.

If you are wary of censorship, yet want to fight hatred and protect the vulnerable, welcome to the interwebs! It’s a crazy and precarious place where almost anything can happen. Despite decades of use, we’re still navigating our way through the gauntlet of tough decisions the proliferation of platforms and ease of use have given us.

First, how does Twitter gauge a potentially harmful tweet? According to Twitter, the app responds to language similar to prior tweets that people have reported. Twitter, like Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms, already has hateful conduct rules in place. In fact, Twitter has a host of rules and policies intended to protect users from fraud, graphic violence, or explicitly sexual images.

Their rationale is detailed, but explains, “Our role is to serve the public conversation, which requires representation of a diverse range of perspectives.” However, they “recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves.”

We’ve heard stories of teenagers–or even younger children–killing themselves after relentless bullying online. The feeling of anonymity when insulting a living, breathing being from behind a computer screen often causes a nasty pile-on effect. We’ve seen people use social media to bully, sexually harass, and threaten others.

Twitter cites research showing women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and other vulnerable populations are more likely to stop expressing themselves freely when someone abuses them on social media. Even Kelly Marie Tran, who played Resistance fighter Rose Tico in Star Wars, took down her Instagram photos before taking a stand against haters. And she had Jedis in her corner. Imagine your average person’s response to such cruel tactics?

We’ve seen hate groups and terrorist organizations use social media to recruit supporters and plan evil acts. We see false information springing up like weeds. Sometimes this information can be dangerous, especially when Joe Blow is out there sharing unresearched and inaccurate medical advice. Go to sleep, Blow, you’re drunk.

As an English major, and an open-minded person, I have a problem with censorship. Banned books are some of my favorites of all time. However, Twitter is a privately owned platform. Twitter has no obligation to amplify messages of hate. They feel, and I personally agree, that they have some responsibility to keep hateful words inciting violence off of their platform. This is a warning, not a ban, and one they’re only rolling out to iOS users for now.

I mean, in the history of angry rants, when was the last time a “Hey, calm down, you shouldn’t say that” ever made the person less angry or less ranty? Almost never. In which case, the person will make their post anyway, leaving it up to masses to report it. At that time, Twitter can make the decision to suspend the account and tell the user to delete it, add a warning, or otherwise take action.

Every once in a while, though, someone may appreciate the note. If you’ve ever had a colleague read an email for “tone” in a thorny work situation, you know heeding a yellow flag is often the wisest decision. This warning notice gives users a chance to edit themselves. As a writer, I always appreciate a chance to edit myself. If they flag every damn curse word, though, that will get real annoying real fast. You’re not my mom, Twitter. You’re not the boss of me.

This isn’t your great granddaddies’ book burning. This is 2020. The internet giveth; the internet taketh away. It’s a crying shame that evil creeps in when we’re not looking. Speech has consequences. Users can’t edit tweets, so once it’s out there, it’s out there. Even if they delete a tweet within moments of posting, anyone can screenshot that baby and share it with the world. Part of me says, “Good, let the haters out themselves.”

Twitter has shown itself to be open to differences in opinion, encouraging freedom of expression, and has opened up a whole new line of communication for traditionally underrepresented populations. They are a private company, and their rules and policies are posted. What, you didn’t read the terms of use? Gasp!

It’s Twitter’s rodeo, after all. This warning gives users a quick, added heads up to posting something that will likely be reported/removed anyway. For better or worse, Twitter’s still leaving it up to users to post what they want and deal with the potential fallout. Hey, I have a great idea! How about we all be respectful of each other on the internet, and Twitter won’t have to come up with this kind of thing.

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Social Media

Yelp adds virtual services classification to help during COVID

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Yelp constantly adds new classifications for how to find a business to meet your needs, now because of COVID they have added virtual services.

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Yelp virtual services

Yelp is making efforts to accommodate businesses whose operations are adapting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Several new features will help businesses display updated services.

The company has added an information category titled virtual service offerings. Business can display service option such as classes, virtual consultations, performances, and tours. Yelpers can search for businesses based upon those offerings.

Yelp has already noticed trends where users are incorporating virtual services into their business profiles. In an report by TechCrunch, Yelp’s head of consumer product Akhil Kuduvalli said “With these new product updates, businesses of all types that are adapting and changing the way they operate will be able to better connect with their customers and potentially find new ones.”

Virtual services in categories like fitness, gyms, home services, real estate, and health are already increasing in popularity. Yelp intends to showcase businesses that are providing those services by creating new Collections.

Once business owners update their virtual service offerings on their Yelp for Business profiles, we will surface those updates to consumers through new call-to-action buttons, by updating the home screen and search results with links to groups of businesses offering these new virtual services, as well as surfacing them in other formats like Collections,” said Kudvalli.

Also in the works is a curbside pickup category for restaurants. Additionally, Yelp introduced a free customized banner for businesses to post updates on their profiles. About 224,000 businesses have used the banner so far.

Yelp hasn’t stopped there. It’s made its Connect feature (which allows businesses to share important updates to all Yelpers on their profile and their email subscribers) free to eligible local businesses as part of the Yelp’s commitment to waive $25 million in fees to support businesses in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

During COVID-19 businesses and consumers need all the help they can get, and thankfully Yelp is there to – help.

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