An educational body we know well runs a number of Facebook groups to enable students to form friendship and study groups, find accommodation together and advertise their welcome, sporting and social events.
For obvious reasons, the staff do not want to use their personal Facebook accounts for this task.
Furthermore, they need to be seen as moderators offering advice and preventing abuse of the groups by spammers or drunken students, rather than being mistaken for fellow students.
The staff have, therefore, been setting up Facebook accounts for professional use with the name of the organisation in the middle of their (real) names to indicate that they are staff.
This system had all been working well for some years but now, one by one, the staff are finding their accounts blocked by Facebook until they submit legal ID of their real names!
Facebook, it seems, does not want any of the staff having more than one Facebook account, and seems to think they should conduct their entire lives (personal and professional) through the same account!
Unhelpfully, Facebook then insists that people can only complain to them by using their blocked Facebook account email address which of course they can’t access!
Below is the message which users see when Facebook decides to block them from using an account with any variation of your real name:
Submit Your Documents
We ask everyone on Facebook to use the name they go by in everyday life so friends know who they’re connecting with.
Please provide identification that displays the name you’d like to confirm and use publicly on Facebook. Keep in mind that if you confirm a name other than the one currently on your profile, the name on your profile may be automatically updated with the name you confirm.
Learn more about why we require ID verification and the different types of ID we accept below.
Save as JPEGs, if possible. You may attach up to 3 files.
Middle name (Optional)
Bottom of Form
Their reasons? I looked up their help section and this is what they said:
Multiple Facebook accounts
Facebook is a community where people use their authentic identities. It’s against the Facebook Community Standards to maintain more than one personal account.
If you want to represent your business, brand or product on Facebook, you can use your personal account to create and manage a Page.
Keep in mind that a personal profile is for non-commercial use and represents an individual person. Learn more about the differences between Pages and profiles.
Not exactly helpful. I have written to the Security Manager of Facebook (yes, by snail mail, to catch her attention in this electronic world) to advise her that “pages” are not always suitable for business use.
Sometimes you need to be able to run business groups with a relevant profile to act as administrator.
So while I understand that Facebook does not want individuals claiming to be Kermit the Frog or David Hasselhof (if they aren’t genueine), sometimes there are valid reasons for running more than one Facebook account.
It would be far simpler you would have thought to just block a Facebook account if abuse or dishonesty has been reported.
Watch this space. . .
* The writer is a Brighton=based media training specialist, working in Sussex and London.