What Would You Lose if Facebook Shuts Down Your Account?

I got an email from one of my readers recently, telling me that Facebook had disabled her account for over-promotion.  A team member of hers had a similar experience…this gal had two accounts…one for personal and one for business…and Facebook shut them both down (although she eventually got the personal one back.)  My reader suggested that I might want to write a post about this, so that others can avoid what happened to her, and I thought it was a great idea.

Facebook Really Means Their Terms of Service
When you sign up for a Facebook account, you agree to their Terms of Service. Check out Section 4 specifically.  By setting up your account, you agree not to set up more than one account, and you agree not to use your status updates to sell stuff.  And while Facebook is not consistent about enforcing these rules, they DO enforce them periodically, and without warning.  My guess is that they have programs that detect this stuff.  And they don’t tell you before they take your access away.  Are you really willing to sacrifice all you’ve built on Facebook for that?

What Could You Lose?
The gal that shared her story with me lost family pictures, connections to high school friends, fan pages, and business contacts, all because she copied and pasted a promotion on 12 Event walls.  Facebook did pop up a warning message telling her to stop, but it was too late.  She was instantly logged out and disabled.

What do you rely on having access to within your Facebook account?  What could you lose by violating Facebook Terms of Service? Is that promotion really worth it?

It’s SOCIAL Media
I tell you guys this all the time, but seriously, pay attention.  Facebook is NOT about blasting sales and recruiting messages.   It’s about building relationships with people, getting to know them, and understanding their needs.  The sales messages are ONLY for opt-in areas (be it a Group, Page, or email list.)  It’s so easy to be tempted to post that great special “just this once,” but understand what you risk when you do.  If that’s the time that Facebook is looking at you, that could be the beginning of the end of your Facebook marketing efforts.

Using social media tools can bring tremendous benefits to your business.  As a direct seller, the relationship you build with your prospects and customers is the greatest success tool that you have.  But you MUST keep in mind that these are 3rd party sites with their own sets of rules, and you have to play by the rules in order to have access.

Don’t let what happened to my reader happen to you.

Your thoughts?

12 Responses to What Would You Lose if Facebook Shuts Down Your Account?
  1. Steve Murtagh
    August 6, 2010 | 2:18 pm

    I think that people who are aggressively promotional are “shut down” long before Facebook finds them. People like that quickly become invisible background noise. If not Unfriended.

    • Jennifer Fong
      August 6, 2010 | 2:32 pm

      Very good point Steve!

  2. Karen Shillieto
    August 6, 2010 | 8:32 am

    Jen, I always learn from you. I know this is one of first things you teach in your social media courses. I think every smart businesswoman should really invest the time to learn what is appropriate and what isn’t. The price of losing my Facebook presence is too high!

  3. Karen
    August 5, 2010 | 4:33 pm

    This happened to a friend of mine. She did not even do anything “spammy” but was adding too many friends or something and they shut her down. FB doesn’t share what their limits are and we have no way to control it, it just happens and you cannot get it back. She had to start a new account and invite everyone again and start all over.

    If you are marketing through a Fan Page you won’t have this problem. That is what they are there for!

  4. Lisa Kuftinec
    August 5, 2010 | 1:38 pm

    Jennifer, thanks so much. This is an important distinction for all of us. Thank you for the reminder


  5. Patty Reiser
    August 5, 2010 | 1:01 pm

    After reading this, I am beginning to question whether I should have my Tweets automatically posted on Facebook? Though I do use both for socializing and building relationships, I do occasionally Tweet about a company special which will be attached to either a blog post or a pdf file online with more details about the special.

    What are your thoughts Jen?

  6. Pat Zahn
    August 5, 2010 | 12:56 pm

    I think it can be very hard for individuals to know when they’ve crossed the line, especially when she is so passionate about her company/product. If someone was filming me while I was reading certain FB posts or twitter posts, I’d be alarmed to see my visible cringe. I feel like I should message them and refer them to your blog, Jennifer – would that be “tactless”?

    Also, a FB page question, yesterday, I was trying to attach a link to a 4shared photo I have and got a warning message that it was a previously disallowed link (paraphrased) – I was prompted to send a message why I thought this was a mistake, I did, but will I get a response to that? Do you know why that might have happened?

  7. Jay Cusimano
    August 5, 2010 | 10:06 am

    Thank You Jennifer,
    I am happy to see this posted so I don’t break the rules about this. I put a post on yesterday and removed it after I thought about it because I formed a website link that I do not think was acceptable, and did it totally by accident, not knowing what I did would form that type of link.

    Another rule frequently seen abused on here is people grabbing somebody else’s “What’s on your mind” post if they like it and using it as their own.

    The info we post is OUR OWN according to the Terms Of Service and protected by copywrite so we must be careful to credit statements to the author when we get them off here, read them, heard them, or otherwise learned them. One of my friends lost his account for doing this. A lot of work down the drain in an instant.

    Thanks again,

  8. Jill Shea
    August 5, 2010 | 8:58 am

    Thank you for sharing your readers’ experience. This is a GREAT reminder, I’m sharing with everyone I know. I think I’ll change the K.I.S.S. [keep it simple sister] to Keep It SOCIAL Sister. : )
    Thanks again Jennifer!

    • Pat Zahn
      August 5, 2010 | 12:47 pm

      I like that Jill! Keep It SOCIAL Sister!

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