Business as usual becomes business unusual very quickly when you try to log into your Facebook account – and you can no longer use the network. As a company specialising in social media marketing, we know that keeping up with the world’s biggest social network’s policies is critical. When things go wrong, they can go very wrong, and losing out on an audience of 1.2 billion people (and growing) can be extremely harmful to any business.

We’ve come across a few stories of businesses ending up with blocked Facebook pages and profiles, with their owners being very confused and frustrated. Upon examination, a common factor comes to light: many small to medium enterprises use posts in popular groups to advertise their businesses in a more personal way, getting some exposure to a set audience without having to pay for advertising. Unfortunately, some business owners take it to the extreme, believing that there is no limit to how much one page can post. However, Facebook has tremendously complex code and algorithms that constantly monitor content on every page and in every group.

With a user base of over a billion people, Facebook puts a lot of work into making sure that the content you see is of a high quality and isn’t littered with spam and hate. The network invests heavily in the development of digital algorithms that become increasingly refined and successful every day, so that the experience of using Facebook becomes self-regulating without the need for time-consuming human moderation.

These algorithms depend on user feedback – that is, when someone marks a post or comment as spam or hate speech. One page posting the same advertising-oriented message across a variety of groups is behaviour that is undoubtedly going to be picked up by the network, and if you’ve irritated a few people with your repeated postings, they’ll likely flag it. People on Facebook tend to be fickle and are easily ticked off by what they think is spam.

When your page is flagged as a source of spam, the algorithms kick in and your activity is then immediately blocked. A block means you can still log in, but you can’t send messages, make posts, send friend requests, launch ads or comment on anything. These blocks can, according to Facebook’s community guidelines, last from a few hours to several days. Reports have surfaced of severe offenders being blocked for up to a few months. A block cannot be lifted even with an appeal, because it is imposed by an algorithm, and not a person. If it happens to you, all you can do is sit it out. Once it is lifted, make sure you don’t engage in spam-like behaviour in the future.

When it comes to Facebook, the best policy is, ‘if in doubt, rather don’t do it’. Thankfully, we at JQ Digital are in a position to add, ‘or ask a professional’! We are more than happy to offer advice on Facebook page management and strategies, or do it for you while taking full advantage of everything the world’s biggest social network has to offer.

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