Have you ever heard the comment "My account is in Facebook Jail!"
If you haven't, don't panic. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Now before you begin to imagine iron bars and orange jumpsuits, just know there isn't really a physical "jail," but Facebook does have repercussions for those who have continued guideline infractions.
How to Stay out of Facebook Jail
Facebook users can find themselves in the Facebook Police's cross-hairs if they are caught operating their accounts outside of Facebook's guidelines. A more accurate description of Facebook's Jail is when users are blocked or banned (by Facebook) from posting on the site or accessing their account, due to violations or spammy behavior. Worst-case-scenario is that this "jail" could also lead to a Facebook account being deleted entirely.
Here are actions and tactics to ensure you stay out of Facebook Jail.
Don't Send Friend Requests to People you Don't Know Personally: If your account is temporarily blocked from sending friend requests, it's because friend requests you've sent have gone unanswered or have been marked as unwelcome. Don't send friend requests to people you don't know personally.
Don't Do Things You Shouldn't: Facebook has some specific actions they prohibit on their channel and, despite the social media giant media's size, is closely monitored. Here are the prohibited actions:
- No nudity or sexually suggestive content.
- No hate speech, credible threats, or direct attacks on an individual or group.
- No content that contains self-harm or excessive content.
- No fake or impostor timelines.
- No SPAM.
Accounts will be disabled if a user is caught engaging in any of the following:
- Continued, prohibited behavior.
- Unsolicited contact with others which includes harassing behavior and constant advertising or promotions as a Facebook profile (not a Page).
- Using a Fake Name to create a fake profile or worse yet; impersonating a person or entity.
Don't send Too Many Messages: Facebook messages are beneficial if you are using them in an honest and professional way. But if you are not, it's a surefire way to annoy the Facebook Police. If a user sends a message to anyone (even people they know) it can be marked as spam. Too many of those "unwanted" designations can get your account in a pickle. Another no-no is sending too many messages in a short period of time. The kicker is that Facebook doesn't have any guidelines regarding how many is "too many" and in what time frame. You may be super-stoked about your upcoming book deal or event, but sending out messages in a rapid-fire fashion will only get you in hot water.
Quit Doing Business as a Profile: To this day there are many businesses on Facebook operating as a Profile instead of a Page. Many were created in error by business owners who didn't know any better, but then kept using them because they were reluctant to start over with a Page and lose their following. The reality is that Business Pages on Facebook are there so people can set them up and operate as a business. They give the user huge credibility and functionality while offering up an effective way to do business via Facebook. As of 2013, Facebook started cracking down on businesses using Facebook as a profile, and the bottom line; you can't have a business name or any other name other than your real name on your personal profile.
The best defense to staying out of Facebook Jail is to be informed. Take the time to educate yourself and read Facebook's Terms of Service.