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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

Snapchat shifts strategy to open their arms to competitors

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Snapchat opens some interesting doors after keeping the padlocked for years – will this new strategy solidify their status as a digital giant?

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There’s no denying the notable impact that Snapchat has had on the visual side of social media apps. From knock-off Snapchat-esque filters to more egregious rips such as the “Stories” feature, allusions to Snapchat are inherent in the bulk of social media platforms. Snapchat’s response is simple: to monetize these allusions via the Snapchat Story Kit.

The “Stories” feature has rapidly become a massive part of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, with over a billion daily story users across these three services. Comparatively, Snapchat enjoys around 186 million daily story users, making it nearly impossible for the original story curator to compete.

Like many modern businesses, Snapchat’s initial response was to ignore the competition in a display of relentless, self-indulgent optimism. Now that such optimism has been dampened by cold, hard numbers, Snapchat is turning to another venue: sharing.

By sharing their “Stories” feature via a new developer suite — called the “Snapchat Story Kit” — Snapchat will be able to monetize its most ubiquitous aspect while maintaining some semblance of branding across any participating platforms.

In theory, the Snapchat Story Kit will allow app users to post their Snapchat stories to apps such as Tinder, Twitter, and so on; this will enable the same level of story interaction one would find within Snapchat or on Facebook without taking the focus away from Snapchat’s API.

Since any story posted via the Snapchat Story Kit will still go through Snapchat rather than a nonpartisan third-party app or program, this move will continue to emphasize Snapchat’s presence in the visual world.

There are a few possible downsides to this power-grab, not least of which is Facebook’s level of control at the time of this writing. Since Facebook already uses its own version of the “Stories” feature on all of its most-frequented apps, Snapchat has essentially missed out on some of the most powerful opportunities to monetize its features.

It’s also within the realm of reason to assume that Snapchat will require Snapchat Story Kit users to jump through additional hoops before they can use its features—a move that, similarly to the Bitmoji jump, may prove to be more annoying than hindering.

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MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson

MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

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Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.

MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)

ron swanson

You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.

Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.

So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.

You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”

MeWe is available for Android, iOS, desktops, and tablets.

This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.

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How to spot if your SEO, PPC, social media marketing service provider is a con-artist

(BUSINESS) When hiring a professional, did you know there are actual questions you can ask to spot a con-artist? Too often, we trust our guts and go with the gregarious person, but too much is on the line to keep doing that with your business.

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In this day and age the cult of positive thinking and “the law of attraction” are still very much alive and well in the business services industry. Here are a few simple questions that you can ask prospective business service providers to help you gauge if they are the real deal or just caught up in the fad of “say yes to everything,” or “outsource everything” being populated online by countless “thought leaders” and cult gurus.

Lots of people will ask, “What’s the harm of people trying to make something of themselves?”

Well, I’m here to tell you there is a huge harm in taking risks with a client’s money and manipulating people into trusting their “expertise” when they have none.

Business owners: Due diligence is more important than ever these days.

There are whole communities of people helping to prop each-other up as experts in fields they know nothing about while outsourcing their tasks with little or no oversight into the actual work being done on your behalf.

It is nearly impossible for you to tell if this is even going on. Don’t worry. I am here to help you avoid a con-artist.

How? By showing you how to weed out the bad actors by asking really simple questions.

This set of questions is perfect for people who need to distinguish if the expert they are talking is really just an expert in bullshit with a likeable personality.

Why do these questions work? Because people who are into this kind of stuff are rarely hesitant to talk about it when you ask them direct questions. They believe that what they are doing is a good thing and so they are more open to sharing this information with you because they think by you by asking that you are also into similar things.

It is a fun little trick I picked up while learning to do consumer polling and political surveying.

The Questions:

  • Who influences you professionally?
  • Do you follow any “thought leaders” “gurus” or coaches? If so, who?
  • What “school” of thought do you ascribe to in your profession, and where do you learn what you know?
  • Are there any industry standards you do not agree with?
  • How do you apply the services you offer to your own company?
  • Can you please tell me the background of your support staff and can I see their CV’s?
  • Do you outsource or white label any of the work your company does?
  • May we audit your process before buying your services?
  • May we discuss your proposed strategies with others in your industry to ensure quality?
  • Would you be open to speaking with an independent consultant that is knowledgeable about your industry about your proposals?
  • Can you show me examples of your past successful jobs?
  • Do you have any industry accepted certifications and how many hours of study do you do in a year to keep your knowledge up-to-date and current?
  • How many clients have you had in the past?
  • How many clients do you have currently?
  • How many clients are you able to handle at one time?
  • How many other clients do you have that are in the same industry as my company?
  • How long is your onboarding process before we start getting down to actually making changes to help solve the issues my company is facing?
  • Can you explain to me the steps you will take to identify my company’s needs?
  • Have you ever taken a course in NLP or any other similar course of study?
  • Have you ever been a part of a Multi-Level Marketing company?
  • Fun. Right? Well, we aren’t done.

    It is not just enough to ask these questions… you have to pay attention to the answers, as well as the WAY they are answering questions.

    And you also have to RESEARCH the company after you get your answers to make sure they ring true.

    You cannot keep accepting people at face value, not when the risk is to your business, employees, and clients. There is little to no risk for a person who is being dishonest about their capabilities and skill sets. They will walk away with your money, ready to go find another target for a chance meeting that seems amazingly perfect.

    Do not leave your business decisions to chance encounters at networking events. Research before saying yes.

    No matter how likeable or appealing the person you are speaking with is.

    How do you research? Easy. THE INTERNET. Look at the website of the company you are considering working with.

    • Does it look professional? (do not use your website as a standard for professional unless you have had it done by a professional)
    • Can you see a list of their past clients?
    • Do they effectively tell their story as a company or are they just selling?
    • What do their social media profiles look like? Do they have many followers? Are they updated regularly?
    • Do they have any positive reviews on social sites? (Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin, etc)

    You can also do some simple things like running SEO Website Checkers on their websites. There are tons of these online for free and they will give you a pretty good indicator of if they are using best practices on their websites – you can even do this research on their clients’ websites.

    Also, if you know anything about SpyFu, you can run their website through that to see how they are doing their own online marketing (the same can be said for their clients if they are selling this service).

    Facebook also has a cool section that shows you ads that a Page is running. You can find this info connected to their business Page as well as the Pages they manage for their clients as well. None of these things automatically disqualify a potential service provider, but their answers the question of “why” things are the way there are might be very illuminating to you as a business owner.

    This may seem like a lot of work, and it can be if you do not do these things regularly and have them down to a system, but the cost of not doing these things is way too high. A con-artist is born every day, thanks to the internet.

    You have a right as a business owner considering services from a vendor to ask these questions.

    They also have the responsibility as a service provider to answer these questions in a professional manner. Sometimes the way in which they answer the questions is far more important than the actual answer.

    If all of this seems too overwhelming for you to handle, that is okay.

    • You can ask one of your staff in your company to take on this role and responsibility.
    • You can hire someone to come in and help you with these decisions (and you can ask them all the same questions as above before taking their services).
    • You can reach out to other business owners in your network to see if they have recommendations for someone who could help you with things.
    • Heck, you can even call up companies that look like they are doing as well as you want to be doing online and ask them who they are using for their services. Try successful companies in other industries as your competitor won’t likely be interested in sharing their secrets with you…

    What is important is that you are asking questions, researching, and ultimately making sure that you are doing as much as possible to ensure making the best decision for your company.

    Final thoughts:

    “But, Jay, what’s wrong with taking a risk on an up-and-comer?”

    The answer to that is NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on someone. Someone being green doesn’t make them a con-artist.

    The issue I am raising is in the honest portrayal of businesses and their capabilities. It is about honesty.

    I am a huge fan of working with people who are new and passionate about an industry. But I only work with people who are honest with me about who they are, what they can do, and how their processes work.

    I have worked with tons of people who are still learning on the job. It can be quite educational for a business owner as well.

    Just make sure they are being honest about everything up front. You are no obligated to give anyone a chance when it comes to your businesses success, and it’s not right that someone might manipulate you into doing so.

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