Facebook isn’t being very social

A chunk of our services involve building applications and websites which interact in one way or another with Facebook, so what happens when Facebook locks you out?

Well we’re not sure ourselves, before we even announced the creation of 3ManFactory we set up all our social media accounts, registered our various domains and began to set the wheels in motion ready for the start of May when we planned to join forces officially. We were always going to have a few hiccups along the way with combining 3 busy businesses together, but to find out we’d essentially been black listed on Facebook was a shock to say the least.

It turns out that our main domain 3ManFactory.co.uk has been flagged as containing abusive content by Facebook, a bit of a shock to say the least, but what does this mean ? Well after creating our Facebook page we filled out some basic information so we could begin collecting likes, in order to claim our customFacebook  URL (facebook.com/3manfactory), we soon reached our target and snapped up our custom Facebook URL nothing strange about that, we then put up a holding page and placed a mini announcement on our Facebook wall along with a URL to our page to let people know what was going on and that is where it all began. Facebook alerted us that we were unable to post this status as it contained our own URL the very same URL that’s present within our information tab, but it was even more of a surprise that it was flagged up for containing abusive content. Now I know the 3 mug shots originally shown on our landing page weren’t the pretiest in the world (I did tell Tom to brush his hair), but there wasn’t a single offensive item located on the page, it litterally contained our new logo along with our contact details so it’s slightly baffling.

What caused this?

The warning message as shown above states that its been flagged as abusive by Facebook users, which narrows it down to the contacts we shared it with initially on Facebook however it begs the question was it actually flagged up as abusive by a user or could it of been us sharing a new page with our friends on Facebook causing Facebook to automatically flag it. Or if it was flagged as spam it begs the question just how many users need to flag the URL to have Facebook automatically block it as one of our associates seems fairly unlikely, but multiple even more so. It’s been accepted that we’ll never find out what exactly caused this but it’s a real shame that Facebook don’t seem to have the decency to rectify this issue which ourselves, friends and family have now flagged up with them using the very tools they’ve provided incase such a thing occurs by mistake.

What impact does this have?

Once your URL has been flagged up as ours has it’s quite surprising how restricted your account becomes and the following occurs;

  • The biggy, sharing your URL is a no go
  • You’re no longer able to edit your Facebook page, the information present on your page becomes locked, editing contacting details and decriptions is all prevented
  • Creating new applications which reference your URL are blocked
  • Using Like buttons on your website will stop working (try ours out), it will increase the number of like to reflect your interaction and then fade out, if you look at your profile you’ll see the link wasn’t liked

What’s the solution?

In all honesty we’re not sure, we’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to raise this issue with Facebook, who fob you off with their ‘Help Centre’ as the main point of contact which is rather appalling, the type of support offered within the help documentation is basic information on how to carry out simple tasks such as ‘How to upload a profile picture’ pretty basic tasks, and doesn’t address any half challenging issues which is a tad shoddy. Resorting to an old fashioned Google search it quickly becomes apparent that many other users have experienced the same issue and have posted on forums and other bloggers websites requesting advice on how to resolve this issue, a reocurring theme is that there appears to be no quick fix, some users report back that after waiting between 3 and 6 months Facebook have unblocked the URL in question and life is tick tock boom, whilst other threads appear to have been abandoned after waiting so long. I really hope we’re not going to be waiting this long as I’d like to live to see our URL being shared by millions or even billions before I pop my cloggs (death clock told me not to plan too far ahead if you catch my drift).

For now we’ll have to sit, wait and hope that a resolution is found and if it is we’ll make sure we update you.

UPDATE

We’re no longer blocked, in September we managed to get in touch with a staff member at Facebook who flagged our issue to the technicians and all works fine now, no reason given and we’re just relieved.

Article by James Duffell

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