Oh boy, what a mess! A new client went to add me to his Facebook page then called me in a panic. “I can’t do it,” he said. “I’m not an admin!” In fact, he went on, there was NO admin on his Facebook page. Don’t believe it? Neither did I, until I saw it for myself. He was listed as an Editor for the page and no one else was listed in any role!
Journey to restoring a Facebook page.
What made this case different from the tens of thousands of others, is that it wasn’t just a case of someone else claiming admin rights on my client’s page, it’s that the consultant reassigned my client as an Editor, and then removed herself as the administrator. She then must have deleted her own Facebook page, as she was gone without a trace.
Step one was to try and contact Facebook with an issue report. All I can say is, good luck with that. Facebook isn’t known for its responsiveness. I even tried tweeting at Facebook to ask for assistance. Crickets.
In the meantime, I researched the previous consultant, found her LinkedIn profile, and attempted to contact her. Eventually, I got her on the phone and she informed me she worked as a freelancer for a social consulting firm when she ran my client’s account. She couldn’t/wouldn’t help me.
Step two was navigating to the Facebook for Business page, which is targeted towards business owners using Facebook. I thought I might a contact on the page, but no dice. Scrolling through the posts, though, I saw there were comments asking for help and—actual answers from actual Facebook employees!
I commented on a post, received the generic answer (“Help Center answer–I’ve lost access to my page“), and then explained a little further. Now I had a contact at least! We followed the instructions and my client received an email, asking for:
- A copy of a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a current driver’s license or a passport, of the individual signing the statement. See the different kinds of IDs we accept in the Help Center.
- A notarized and signed statement from a person with sufficient knowledge and authority over this matter that includes all of the following:
a) A description of your relationship to the Page (and authority to request a change in the person(s) who manage the Page, as applicable);
b) The name of the current person(s) who manage the Page, as applicable;
c) The relationship of the above person(s) to the Page;
d) An explanation of your request, and whether there has been a termination of the employment and/or business relationship with the named person(s), as applicable;
e) All documentation supporting your request
f) The Facebook account or email address associated with the Facebook account (or Timeline) that you wish to have added as the new admin of the Page; and
g) A declaration under penalty of perjury that the information you have provided is true and accurate (your statement must include this language).
Complicating this is the fact that my client is not a native English speaker. I drew up the document for him, and had his business co-owner take the document to have signed and notarized.
The request was granted and my client was made the admin for the page—6 weeks after we started. Now, to be clear, he always had access to the page and could post and update content; he just didn’t have control.
How to avoid losing control of your social accounts.
The way to avoid all of this is to take a few preventative measures.
- For Facebook accounts, make yourself and perhaps one other very trusted person (co-owner, spouse, sibling, etc.) the administrators. When/if you add someone to help manage the page, DO NOT give them administrator status, make them Editors instead.
- Remember to remove people from your Facebook page once they are no longer managing your page.
- For all other social accounts, create a generic email everyone can use (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org). This way you don’t need a former employee’s or consultant’s email to access your own accounts.
- Change passwords often and especially after someone leaves your company. Even if it is your most trusted employee after 50 years, change the passwords. Keep the passwords in a secure place. Make sure one other trusted person has access.
This is another plea to thoroughly review all of your online space at least twice a year. Check your website to make sure all the information is accurate and all the links work, and check to see who has access to your social media platforms. This is all about your business, keep your online space and reputation secure!
Have you ever had this issue? How did you solve it? Share your experience with us in the comments.