After 15 years, it finally happened:
If you know me, you know that I haven’t posted on Facebook in about four years, and outside of my daily work, my only activity involves liking friend and family photos. I spend most of my social time on Instagram (which wasn’t suspended, despite being linked), and my interaction is fairly limited… definitely nothing that would warrant this action.
If you’re not someone who works directly on Meta’s platforms, you might be thinking, “what’s the big deal, Joe?” But pretty much everything—from advertising, to reporting, to sharing access with third parties like Sprout Social or Hootsuite—is all validated through your personal account, so having an account in verified good standing is critical. So as an agency professional, you’d think I’d be sweating bullets, calling up support and panicking to get access back to any and all channels before our clients notice.
But no. Let’s all just take a deep breath.
Today’s blog isn’t about being reactive, it’s about the proactive steps ChatterBlast takes to ensure this kind of thing isn’t a big deal. The great news is that this advice applies to anyone—big agency, big company, or small business page owner—and can help to shore things up so you feel just as calm as me in these situations.
Appeal, appeal, appeal
The first and most important step is to appeal. Immediately.
Not taking action is sure to lead to a lengthy wait, and if the button’s there, you might as well click it.
Confirm, confirm, confirm
Next, you’ll want to confirm your identity—and I apologize in advance for how invasive it might feel.
Head over to facebook.com/id and follow all the steps. Yes, everything from setting up two-factor authentication, adding a phone number, submitting your driver’s license, and going through the political ad verification steps will all help to ensure you minimize your risk of getting suspended. If your Facebook account is currently suspended, it’s one of the fastest ways to get released, too.
While you might think you’re giving too much data to Meta (Facebook’s parent, which still pains me to say), you’re completely right. But there’s not much of a choice if you plan to advertise to Meta consumers. At the end of the day, it’s not a Social Security Number or anything that can be used to ruin your life, and the truth of the matter is that those things will happen regardless of whether you take these steps or not. (Sorry not sorry, but the dark web is very real.)
Get down to Business
Now that that’s done, if you run ads in any capacity, you’re going to want to set up a Business Manager account. These are built to allow you to control and share assets and permissions at scale, and help unlock a variety of tools that let you manage your brand on Meta.
If you work with an agency, you can give out “partner” access to an agency’s Business Manager account, instead of giving someone a direct invite through their personal account. Most agencies should have a Business Manager account which protects them in the same way, and also helps to manage people, pages, and accounts at scale. In the event of a suspension, another partner can pick up where they left off, which is always the best case scenario. If you’re alone, set yourself up with someone you trust as a backup, that way there’s always at least two people active. If you don’t trust anyone, while I don’t condone it, set up two Facebook accounts and make sure they’re both verified and active.
TLDR: Just do something to make sure there’s a backup access point in the event of a failure or suspension.
Once in the Business Manager, you can connect your ad account, Instagram account, pixel, set up block lists to make sure your ads don’t run on unsavory websites, and loads more. It takes a bit on the setup side, but saves a lot of headaches down the road.
Back it up
If you’re a data nerd, I highly advise setting up a data warehouse to store data as it flows. There’s free tools like Fivetran and Airbyte that can help push the data to your centralized source (Google, AWS, and Microsoft all have data warehouse solutions for storage). For visualization, there’s Looker Studio, Superset, Tableau, Power BI, and a bunch of others.
While this may feel like overkill, in the event that you’re suspended, none of your data will be lost or missing from your reports, which adds another layer of security and reliability to your business. Having been through this, I can’t say enough how nice it was to take a breath and know that all of our data was safe and accessible.
The only place that likely would have the greatest impact are any third-party scheduling tools, like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, HeyOrca, or Later. Since these all connect directly through Meta’s API (application programming interface, think of it like a handshake between each platform), they would likely disconnect within hours of a suspension. While not ideal, building out your content calendar in a spreadsheet, then porting it to your favored scheduling platform is your safest bet. A “physical” copy of your calendar will allow you to drop everything back in should any of it get lost, or can allow a team member to manually place content in the event that it needs to go up immediately.
Contingency is the game we’re playing in this blog, and we can only assume that Murphy’s law—“anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”—must be applied to all facets of your social media accounts.
Eventually, as reliable as the sun rising over the horizon, Meta will let you back in:
This is vague, but I’ll take it. There’s no evidence to it, but I wasn’t the only person banned during the weekend this happened, and sometimes systems fail. Luckily with the right preparation, a Facebook account suspension can be a breeze to handle.
The very last thing I want to mention is that Meta, Facebook, or Instagram, will never suspend your account through email. There are bad actors out there posting really convincing emails soliciting review requests, designed to prey on unwitting consumers and get their information. Here’s an example of one such scam, which landed in the inbox of our account manager Olivia:
- First, just going off the super vague notification I received when my account was actually suspended, this message seems too detailed and handwritten to be an official communication from Meta.
- Second, it features both Facebook and Meta branding, and directs attention to “Community Support,” which isn’t an official support channel. The official Facebook Help Community would be branded accordingly, and would not be something Meta would direct people towards in the event of an issue.
- Third, Meta’s offices are at 1 Hacker Way, not 1 Facebook Way (ironic, I know).
- Fourth, the email address associated with this ended with “salesforce.com,” which isn’t a platform Meta would communicate from.
- Last but not least, before clicking on the suspiciously specific link, I hovered and saw that it was leading to Messenger, which is not something Meta would direct you towards. As much as we don’t like it, Meta doesn’t have staff ready 24/7 to handle account suspensions, and would never ask you to chat on your own time.
I mention all of these points to say that this email looked fairly legit at first glance, but Olivia still had full access to her account and received no notifications from official Facebook or Meta sources. Contingency plans are always great to have when something goes wrong, but it’s also extremely important to keep an eye out for nefarious communications that are always trying to catch you slipping.
The moral of this long story? A little preparation goes a long way, stay vigilant, and always have a backup plan. If you’re looking to set up plans for your own business or enterprise, we’re always here to help!