How to Avoid Facebook Jail

If you heavily use Facebook as part of your business marketing efforts, you’ll want to make sure you avoid any practices that could land you a temporary suspension from the social media platform

How to Avoid Facebook Jail

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill

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In a recent column, we talked about the problem with relying on Facebook and Instagram for client communication. But there’s something else we need to address for anyone marketing and advertising their business on Facebook, and that is Facebook Jail. 

No, Facebook Jail isn’t some enhanced reality prison experience dreamed up by Mark Zuckerberg. Although, who knows. 

What is it then? It’s what we call it when a Facebook user gets banned from Facebook or blocked from posting and using their Facebook account. 

If you can’t access your Facebook account or post on Facebook, how can you use it to engage with clients and advertise/market your business?

You can’t, which is why you want to avoid Facebook Jail. How do you do that?

#1 Don’t be spammy.

Anything that looks spammy is going to be considered suspicious and possibly land you in Facebook Jail. Spammy activity includes things like:

  • Posting rapidly and a bit too often. Don’t log in and bombard your feed with rapid-fire posts. Keep to a schedule if you can and avoid posting the same content repeatedly. 
  • Friending the world. You want to keep your business’s Facebook page professional, so we don’t recommend friending a lot of folks anyway. But if you do go sending out friend requests, keep it to a small number at a time. Send too many and you could land yourself in Facebook Jail. The same thing goes when you request to join more than 10 Facebook groups in a day.
  • Logging into multiple accounts simultaneously. While you may have multiple legitimate Facebook accounts, logging into multiple simultaneously has the appearance of very bot-like behavior and could trigger a trip to Facebook Jail. If you have to log in to multiple accounts, try to do so on separate devices.
  • Going on a commenting/post-liking spree or using automation to like or comment. Another bot-y behavior is to rapidly comment or like posts. Whether you do this manually or automatically, it’s a Facebook Jail trigger, for sure. 
  • Tagging people in posts/pictures in a spammy way. We’ve all had it happen to us — someone we don’t know tags us and 40 other people in a Facebook or Instagram post. Even if there are 40 people you could legitimately tag in the pic or post, be cautious about tagging everyone because of how spammy it looks to Facebook. 

#2 Keep it professional.

This should go without saying, but if you want to stay out of Facebook Jail and maintain a good, professional image on Facebook, don’t share sexually explicit content, hate speech, flagged videos/photos/posts, or any other content that goes against Facebook’s guidelines on your Facebook page. Basically, if you wouldn’t share it with your mother or your highest-paying client, it doesn’t belong on your Facebook page. 

Always ask yourself three questions before you post anything:

  • Will clients and potential clients find this helpful?
  • Does this reflect positively on my business?
  • Could someone find this offensive?

The answers should be yes, yes and no. If not, don’t post it. 

#3 Stay out of trouble and avoid fake accounts.

If your account gets reported by multiple people, you’re going to end up in Facebook Jail. Don’t create a fake account for spying on ex-employees or commenting negatively on competitor posts. Keep it straight as an arrow. 

#4 Avoid using suspicious or fraudulent cards to make payments.

Fraudulent cards can also trigger a trip to Facebook Jail, so if you have any issues — like you lose a credit card and have to cancel it, or you have the credit card linked to your Facebook account stolen — be sure to update the payment on your Facebook account ASAP. 

#5 Fill out your Facebook page (especially the About section) and verify the account by adding your phone number.

Lastly, as more of a protective measure, make sure your Facebook page is thoroughly filled out and that you’ve verified your account with your phone. This just adds a layer of authentication to your account because it’s something bots just don’t do.

How do you know you’re in Facebook Jail?

Seems simple enough, right? But what happens if you do land in Facebook Jail? How will you know and what should you do?

First of all, don’t expect a courtesy notification. Facebook won’t always let you know there’s a problem. That said, there are some signs you might be in Facebook Jail. 

You might be in Facebook Jail if …

  • You can’t post on Facebook — not on your own page, not in groups, and not on any other pages.
  • You can’t like or comment on posts.
  • You can’t access your Facebook page.

In other words, if you can’t use Facebook to engage in any way, you’re probably in Facebook Jail. 

How long is the sentence and how do you get out?

If you’re in Facebook Jail, when you attempt to post, like, comment, or access your Facebook page, you’ll receive a notification saying you can’t. Most of the time, this notification will also say how long you’re prevented from doing said action. Minor infractions typically result in temporary suspensions of one to two days. But in some cases, you may be given quite a long sentence.

In these cases, you can either choose to wait it out, file an appeal, or create an entirely new Facebook account. If you’ve been running Facebook Ads for your business, creating a whole new account can mean losing a lot of historical audience data and ads data, so we don’t recommend doing this unless you have absolutely no other choice. 

Play it safe and Facebook can work for you

While you should never solely rely on Facebook or any other social media platform to engage with clients and market your business, Facebook can be really helpful and effective if done right. So stay within the Community Standards, play by Facebook’s rules, stay out of Facebook Jail, and make the most of this platform.

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the co-founders of Spark Marketer, a Nashville, Tennessee-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They're also co-authors of the book, Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. Both regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation. Visit www.sparkmarketer.com or www.facebook.com/sparkmarketer.



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