Protecting Your Business Page on Facebook

Although we aren’t social media consultants, we find that Facebook problems are part of the computer repair business here in Lawrence, Kansas. Often these problems are hacks, hijacking, or vandalism of a web page. For many businesses, a Facebook page is a key way to interact with customers and promote their business. They’re devastated by a Facebook loss.

Photo by Cle0patra - http://flic.kr/p/9h1yJU

Photo by Cle0patra

Typical Problems

 

Page Disappearing

One day you go to your typical link for your business and the page is gone. Facebook may give a reason like “the page is suspended.” Most of the time it just says the page isn’t there. All your pictures, reviews, and customer base is gone. Obviously if you violated the terms of service, you’ll be shut down. If you created a profile for your business in Facebook rather than a page, a member may report you and you’ll lose your content.

Inappropriate Content

This problem isn’t the stuff other people post on your page; you can delete that. This is content that appears to be from you, except it’s not. Sexually explicit pictures are the thing people think about the most. Those type of problems are pretty rare. More common, I see things like an insult of an employee, a customer, or a political statement. Those do more long term damage to a business reputation than pornography. Facebook members know that if you’re a local restaurant, you’re not going to post genitalia. If the post mentions a difficult employee or a health issue, diners might think twice about going back. After all, could there be a grain of truth in there?

Locked Out

In this situation, the page is there, but you can’t post or change content. You expect to see the “write something” prompt, but it’s gone. If you try to delete a post, the option is gone. This situation could be in connection with the inappropriate content. You see something bad and you want to delete it but you can’t.

Who Does This?

 

Sometimes the business will have a disgruntled employee or an employee with a poor sense of humor. Other times the situation comes up with a competitor trying to get an edge. Most of the time though I see it as just a glitch. Facebook has a problem and, for a period your business page is wonky. Facebook could have removed your page for violating certain guidelines, especially intellectual property.

A traditional hacker isn’t likely to attack your business page. There’s not much value for them in posting stuff. It’s a whole lot of work for a small return on investment. These are the type of calls we get involved in while doing computer repair.

Typical and Common Ways You Get Hacked

Photo by JGD JGD - http://flic.kr/p/HgScr

Photo by JGD

You Left The Account Unattended and Logged In

We’ve all seen where a friend borrows a mobile phone and posts something silly on your wall. Ah, you left your phone on the table while you went to the restroom. It’s silly and innocent. You probably leave it up because everyone gets a laugh from it.

With a business it is different, not everyone understands your friend’s sense of humor. An innocent post might be seen differently by your customers. The post was taken out of context.

If the content is malicious or blatantly inappropriate, anyone who had access to your computer or mobile phone could have done this. When your computer or phone are missing, the last thing you probably think about is what you’re logged into.

A Password Was Compromised

This hack can take a few different forms. If you use the same password a variety of places, a breach in one place could cause a breach somewhere else. We all know about the big hacks like Target and Adobe, but breaches happen every day and aren’t reported for weeks later.

Another way someone gets your password is you accidentally give it to them. This could be you wrote it down and someone saw it. Keeping your password on a sticky note under the keyboard is not a safe place. Consider a password manager like 1Password or LastPass. A confusing email or phone call might convince you to give up your password through a phishing or social engineering attempt.

The scariest password problems are those that are part of a coordinated targeted attack. For example, someone contacts your web service provider and convinces them to reset your email password. Once they get access to your email password, they get access to your Facebook password reset functions. Then they get to your Facebook page. You can’t get into either your Facebook or your email. These situations we help clients out with.

While it’s a good idea to change your password, keeping around an old password doesn’t put you at greater risk. If it’s unique, hard to guess, and secure, the mere fact it’s older isn’t the problem. Don’t rush out at change your password immediately at the first sign of trouble. You might be over-reacting at best. At worst, someone is trying to trick you into releasing the password.

The Page Wasn’t Yours to Begin With

This scenario is the one that surprises business owners. You search for your business and start interacting with customers. You figure you own the page, but you don’t. The page could have been created by one of your customers or auto-generated by Facebook.

What To Do When Your Business Page is Hacked

If there is inappropriate content on your page, first try to delete it. Just because someone vandalized the page, doesn’t mean you’re hacked. A common thing I see is a spammer posting content on your page. As long as you can delete it, the problem is resolved. If the person wasn’t connected to your page before, consider banning them. If they were already connected, think twice before banning a suspected spammer. That so-called spammer might be a victim. Your fan’s page could have been hacked. After you delete the post, report the victim as a spammer and inform Facebook the account might have been hacked.

If your account was hacked, Facebook has a great help section on the topic. In particular page’s that are hacked and how to get back your Facebook account. Here is where you can file a report. If you hadn’t claimed the page yet or the page is pretending to be your business, Facebook lets you report the page.

How Can you Protect Your Page?

Your business page is a valuable asset and goes beyond just protecting your Facebook profile. A password isn’t enough today to secure your account. Facebook has a huge section on security and in particular Login Approvals and Trusted Contacts.

Photo by petrOlly - http://flic.kr/p/ppiwGM

Photo by petrOlly

After you protect your personal Facebook account, you can set multiple people to have access to protect your page. For pages, Facebook has a large number of roles. Admins are the only people who can add or remove access to the page. The only person who can lock you out of your page is an Admin. There is no Trusted Contact function on a page, but you can assign another person as an Admin. Everyone else should be an Editor or below in security. The Admin account is your key to your business page. I don’t recommend making your additional administrator an employee of your business. Consider giving it to someone you’d give keys to your home like a good friend or family member.

If you haven’t claimed your business page, claim that page according to Facebook’s instructions. If you want the page removed, report it immediately or merge it into your claimed page.

After you’ve claimed, secured, and verified your page, it’s time to get vigilant in monitoring it. I get dozens of Facebook notifications on my phone and computer. However, my business is my top priority. The problem is I don’t know which notifications are personal and which are business related immediately. That’s why I use the Page Manager App on my mobile devices. That app gives you specific and detailed notifications on all my pages. That lets me respond quickly to problems and contain any vandalism to my pages.

What Can You Do as A Customer?

The first thing to do is to not make light of it. Small, local businesses take pride in serving their customers. When they’re vandalized, it’s a personal attack. You wouldn’t laugh at a fire truck at your friends home. You shouldn’t laugh at a business with an inappropriate picture that suddenly appeared. Please don’t share it with friends as a joke (“Hey, you’ll never guess what happened to this account”). If your personal account was hacked, you wouldn’t want people to share stuff from it. Again, remember local businesses are owned by your friends and neighbors. Your goal should be to support the local business instead of helping the hackers. Under no circumstances should you blame the victim. Even if a business made a mistake, this isn’t the time to bring it up.

If you know the owner, contact them by phone. Messaging them on Facebook won’t work if their personal account was hacked. If you can’t reach the owner, call the business and leave a message for the owner. As a last resort, go ahead and message the business and the business owner. It won’t help if hackers locked them out, that’s why I suggest it as the last thing to do.

If you can’t reach someone with the business and the vandalism hasn’t been removed, it’s time to let Facebook know and report the page. If you think someone who is involved with the business has a hacked account, report that account also.

It Sucks, But It Isn’t Permanent

As an owner of a computer repair business, I feel the pain and sting when clients have hacked Facebook pages. In all cases I’ve worked with clients, they eventually get the problem resolved. In the most extreme examples they have to start over. That’s only happened once and it was because of a split in the business ownership. With a little time and patience, you’ll get access back.

 

 

 

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