Facebook Cracking Down on Fake Accounts
In late September 2020, Tripepi Smith briefly met with representatives from Facebook in response to a client’s difficulty managing their Facebook Page. Through that conversation, we learned Facebook is increasingly paying attention to Pages managed by “fake” accounts/Profiles. And, in some cases, banning those fake Profiles or otherwise restricting their ability to manage Pages. Here are details Facebook shared with us via email (emphasis is Tripepi Smith’s):
“Authenticity is the cornerstone of our community. We believe that people are more accountable for their statements and actions when they use their authentic identities. That’s why we require people to connect on Facebook using the name they go by in everyday life. Our authenticity policies are intended to create a safe environment where people can trust and hold one another accountable. For this reason, Pages must be managed by authentic personal Profiles because inauthentic Profiles are against Facebook’s terms of service. Additionally, users are only able to have one Facebook Profile and only one user should be logging in to each Profile.
Unfortunately, a duplicate or “dummy” Profile is inauthentic by definition and would be subject to removal from the platform. This policy against fake Profiles applies internationally without exception to keep the platform safe for everyone, and to protect from abuses that we have seen in the past. The vast majority of terrorism, crime, scams, bullying, and the like is conducted through inauthentic Profiles, so we do not allow exceptions.
If you choose to manage your Pages from a fake Profile, you run the risk of losing access to your Page if your account is disabled during one of daily sweeps. Additionally, you will be unable to complete a security checkpoint if one is ever applied to your account, to complete Page Publishing Authorization required for all Pages with a potentially large reach, and to complete the Ads Authorizations Process in the future, because they all require identity confirmation.
If you would like to keep your work and personal use on Facebook separate, we recommend managing your organization’s Pages through the Page Manager app or through Business Manager. You will still have to log in through your Profile, but you would only have access to the Pages that you manage through the Page Manager app and Business Manager. We recommend for government organizations to have at least 2-3 people with full Admin rights to the Page (through their authentic Profiles) so that one person does not have exclusive control and access to the Page.”
Tripepi Smith has previously warned clients not to create fake Facebook Profiles because it violates Facebook’s terms of service. But the threat of Facebook banning those Profiles felt like a low risk. Now, we have confirmation it is a high risk and there are far-reaching consequences for the Pages those accounts manage. Below are some questions you may be asking yourself:
How does Facebook distinguish an “inauthentic” Profile from an “authentic” one?
Facebook consults an evolving list of characteristics and activities, such as (but not limited to):
- Lack of personally identifiable information
- Lack of Friend, Page or Group connections
- Lack of Profile activity, such as Likes/Reactions or Comments
- Name of Profile and name of confirmed identity do not match
- Profile is obvious duplicate of another confirmed identity
- Multiple people logging in to the same Profile
There is no set checklist that determines whether a Profile is inauthentic, and these items above could change over time.
Why is Facebook increasing its enforcement now?
There has been growing societal and legislative pressure to hold Facebook accountable for malicious activity that happens on its platform. In advance of the 2020 U.S. general election, Facebook has been taking extra steps to enforce its Terms of Service and weed out potential “bad actors” who deliberately spread misinformation or encourage illegal activity. As part of the sweep, well-meaning organizations and individuals can get caught up in the net if they have inauthentic Profiles.
What if my organization’s social media policy doesn’t allow us to use personal social media accounts to manage our official social media sites?
Social media platforms will constantly adjust how organizations can use them. Your organization should remain flexible with its policies if it wants to continue taking advantage of everything Facebook has to offer. As Facebook mentions, “If you would like to keep your work and personal use on Facebook separate, we recommend managing your organization’s Pages through the Page Manager app or through Business Manager.” The bottom line is that organizations can no longer rely on fake Profiles to manage their Pages, and Facebook is not allowing any exceptions.
How do I set up Facebook Business Manager for my Page(s)?
Facebook offers a Business Manager Overview with instructions and frequently asked questions about how to set up Business Manager for your organization. If you would like hands-on support, please contact Tripepi Smith.