Getting a ban from Facebook can be suicide for your business, and the truth is that it’s almost always your fault. Like many people, you just didn’t know the rules.
In the small minority of cases that Facebook has made an error, your ban might be reversed. Of all the businesses that insist they have done nothing wrong, however, the vast majority are simply unaware that they violated policy. In these cases, the ban is almost impossible to lift. You will likely lose your account permanently, with no recourse. You won’t even be able to work around it by setting up a new business manager account or page. Once your personal account is gone, it’s gone.
Needless to say, this is devastating for your business if you have already invested a lot of time and money into your current account.
There are some very obvious reasons why Facebook might shut down a page, profile or Business Manager account. You are probably aware that inciting violence, distributing pornography or taking part in other criminal activities is illegal.
Similarly, not making payments on time is a familiar reason for any company to stop doing business with you. If you’re always running a debt on your ad account, you shouldn’t be shocked to find out that you’re not allowed to run ads anymore.
But I bet that outside of these basic rules you think it’s pretty fair game, right?
Wrong. Almost none of the businesses I have ever seen getting boycotted by Facebook saw it coming. Or even knew that they were doing something to deserve it in the first place.
Think of Facebook as a country, with its own unique legal system. If you’re visiting that country you need to abide by their laws – no matter how much you agree with them – or you’re going to get deported. And Facebook is a country with a daily footfall of 1.7 billion consumers. You would be insane to risk getting kicked out.
If you want to make sure this never happens to you, I advise you to read Facebook’s policies in full. In the meantime, here are 10 top reasons for Facebook bans that you might not know about – and how to avoid them!
Advertising a product that has been blacklisted by Facebook. Some of these are very obvious – weapons and explosives, for example, are a no. The list also includes surveillance equipment, tobacco and unregulated supplements, among others.
Submitting ads for any banned products will result in them being unapproved. Keep trying and Facebook will show you the door.
Make sure none of the products you are promoting come into the prohibited or restricted content in Facebook’s advertising policies.
Not taking the precaution of enabling two-factor authentication. This is an extra layer of security on top of your password to protect your account. It requires you to enter a code every time you try to access your account from a new device.
Your account will be at a much higher risk of having your account accessed by hackers, who violate Facebook policies and get your account shut down. Not enabling two-factor authentication also makes Facebook more likely to see logins from multiple devices or locations as suspicious. They’ll then suspend your account to try to protect you.
Make sure you have two-factor authentication activated.
Getting over excited and spending way too much way too soon, even within your ad spend limits. Scaling too quickly gives Facebook the impression that you are spamming users.
Facebook will ban your ad account if you are a suspiciously enthusiastic spender.
Increase your budget gradually, even on super successful campaigns, and wait for Facebook to trust your account and increase your ad budget. Slow and steady wins the race here.
Logging in to your account from different IP addresses, maybe because you travel a lot and log in with different devices or because you’ve shared the login with team members in other countries.
Facebook is tracking your logins and will flag your account for potential fraud if they see many different IP addresses trying to access it. If this keeps occurring they will deactivate your account (and you’ll enter a slow and tedious ID verification process).
Use the same mobile device to log in when you’re on the road, and try to limit the number of users in different locations accessing your account.
Your account or Business Manager is accessed by users with a “criminal record” on Facebook – people who have been banned in the past for violating platform policy.
Facebook keeps track of users connected with pages and ad accounts, and will automatically shut down accounts associated with previously banned users.
Stay one step ahead and check who is being granted access to your account. All it takes is one person with a bad Facebook history.
Having an Ad account (and this possibly applies to Business Manager in general) that doesn’t run any ads.
Facebook will shut down your Ad account if it detects inactivity for 60 days or more.
Don’t try to be proactive and set up an ad account for a future business, or make a back-up for your current ad account.
Facebook doesn’t allow content that implies assumptions about your audience’s race, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, age, sexual orientation, financial status, voting status or any other personal characteristics and behaviours.
It may well be Facebook that gives you data about your audience, but they won’t approve your ads if your content reveals that you are targeting specific categories of people. Too many disapproved ads will eventually lead to a ban.
Don’t publish content that mentions the personal attributes of your audience. If you’re unsure exactly what that means, you can check out Facebook’s own list of examples here.
Linking users to a website that Facebook believes to be spamming or operating in an unsafe way, such as using pop-ups and redirects.
Facebook can ban suspicious websites from being linked to accounts, profiles, pages and ads, which will make marketing your business on the platform extremely difficult.
Make sure your website is SSL secure, and avoid using an URL that redirects visitors. If in doubt, run your site through the Facebook Debugger to see if it has any errors that they are picking up on.
Poor feedback from Facebook users in response to your page or your ads.
Facebook will shut down pages and ads which receive negative feedback from its users, and you’ll lose the right to advertise on its platforms. For pages under one year old this is when your feedback score drops below 2/5, and for pages over one year old it’s below 1/5 – you can find Facebook’s own explanation here.
Keep an eye out for negative feedback and make changes to your page and any ads that are receiving complaints before Facebook notices.
Giving your audience misleading information, whether that’s telling lies about your products or services – the price, colour, model – or using images that don’t match what you are selling.
Facebook doesn’t tolerate fake ads and will kick you out for making them.
Double check all your product and service information before you post and don’t use images in your ads that don’t accurately represent what you are actually selling.
This list is by no means all the reasons why Facebook bans accounts, pages and profiles from its platforms. There are more ways in which your business could fall into the trap of violating policy, and I highly recommend you familiarise yourself with all the rules to avoid losing all the hard work you have put into building your reputation on Facebook.