How to Keep your Business Facebook Page from Getting Stolen

social-network8-01-111413-2448Recently I read about a Facebook Page scam that has been making the rounds. It’s called the “Verified Page Scam,” so, please check it out.

The upshot is: Even though it may look like an official Facebook page, do not click on a link that requests permissions, as Facebook does not request permission to take control of your page.

There is a legitimate way for you to claim your business page, described here.

Speaking of permissions …. the Verified Page scam is new, but business owners losing control of their Pages is not.

Most business owners lose their Facebook pages because they granted control over their page to an employee. Then, the employee either vanishes off the face of the Earth or worse, becomes vindictive and does malicious things with the page or kills the page completely.

So, let’s go over how to prevent this by setting up your Facebook Page for Business properly in the first place.

  1. Do not set up a personal profile (Timeline) for your business — set up a Page. If you have already made this mistake, don’t worry – it’s easily corrected. Here is how to convert a personal profile into a Page.  If you need help understanding the difference, read here.
  2. Now that you have a Page, do not grant Administrative access to just anyone. 
An example of roles assigned to people who manage a Facebook Page. To get here, click on your Page while logged in, and click on Settings at the top, then Page Roles on the left.

The page roles are described here in detail, but I am going to describe the type of person who I would recommend for each these roles:

Admin: You, the business owner. Why? Because Admins set access for everyone else. They can revoke access from everyone but themselves (including other Admins), do bad things with the page or delete it, and you are powerless to stop it. So, I recommend that only the business owner and perhaps one other very trusted friend or family member be given this level of access (in the event something happens to you).  Would you want a disgruntled former employee or flaky family member to have this much power over your page? I don’t think so.

Editor: Only give this to people you trust to post wisely on behalf of the organization.

Moderator: This person also needs to have good judgment, as he or she will be moderating comments and deleting anything offensive or inappropriate.

Advertiser: This applies only if you do paid ads on Facebook. This person can handle your ads but nothing else.

Analyst: This person can review data about the page but not post or moderate anything.

If a Page Admin turns on you or disappears, Facebook will not step in and save you.

If a bad Page Admin deleted your page, it’s probably gone for good.

If he or she is posting or allowing others to post bad things about your business, in my experience the only solution is to kill the page and start over. See why you don’t want this to happen? What if you have spent years cultivating a following only to lose it?

I repeat: Facebook will not help you get your Page back from a bad Admin … even though pretending to represent another business is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service (section 1A):

“I. General
A. A Page for a brand, entity (place or organization), or public figure may be administered only by an authorized representative of that brand, entity (place or organization) or public figure (an “official Page”).”

From my experience and from reading about the experiences of others, pursuing this angle with Facebook is not productive.

You may try having your attorney draft a letter to the former employee to encourage him or her to relinquish control of the page. However, if you are already involved in a lawsuit or potential lawsuit with this person, your lawyer may advise against communicating with him or her.

Facebook will, however, take your page down for Intellectual Property infringement. Visit Facebook’s page on this issue if you think this applies to you. Or, just go straight to the form.

Be prepared to send Facebook proof that you represent the business, such as business licenses, and present what material is being used without your consent (logo, photos, etc.).  Some language you will want to use:

Company A does not have administrative access to this page. This person does NOT have authorization to administer the page or permission to use Company A’s name, graphics, photos or other visual identity.

If Facebook determines that your Trademark, Copyright, or other Intellectual Property has been infringed upon, the page will be taken down, and you will need to start over.

So, please be proactive and check out who has permission to manage your page, and do some housecleaning.