‘Likes’ are a great way to gauge a person’s influence or a business’ popularity nowadays. Let’s face it, we would post our best pictures on Instagram and would check up on the likes we have received, more often than we would care to admit. It might sound like a rather superficial thing to monitor our performance and how well-liked we are by, well, likes.
However, it is a good way to determine a brand’s presence on social media, especially if they have garnered a significant amount of likes. It adds to their credibility and basically, the more likes that they have, the more likes they might have a chance of getting in the future, because with one person ‘liking’ their page, it would pop up in another’s news feed.
Malaysians are not one to shy away from creating Facebook pages and even in the local startup community, there are too many to count, what more personal fan pages? One Malaysian Facebook page had built their presence on social media and had surpassed the 50k mark with six steady years of growing it.
That all came to an end when the Facebook giants decided to stomp on the page and close it down for good. The fact that it came without much warning or reason made the closing down of MD Textile’s Facebook page all the more upsetting. Imagine six years of hard work diminishing in the space of one day.
A Rude Awakening
MD Textile took to their personal page to recount the happenings of that fateful day. It all started when they noticed two of their posts made on the morning of 22nd March 2016 disappearing into thin air. At first, the team thought nothing of it and had assumed that it was some sort of a bug.
They shared, “The post was about us asking our customers to vote for our website in a local competition organised by our local state government e-commerce council. In return, we will offer a RM5.00 rebate for any purchase made through our website. I thought it was strange as both the posts had approved ads running.”
As the initial posts had vanished, they decided to repost the article, and boosted it as well. Within an hour, the post was once again gone without a trace. Clearly, anyone would feel equally shocked and upset when all their time and money spent labouring over a page had been disregarded and the only reply the MD Textile team received was not of much help either.
The reply from Facebook read: “Thank you for checking in with us. I’ve checked on the Page https://www.facebook.com/mdtextile and can confirm that it has been deleted by our Security Team. However, due to policy, we are not allowed to disclose any additional information. Please do accept this decision from the Internal Team as final and irreversible. To learn more about Pages Policies: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php. Thanks.”
Learning From Their Mistakes
Following this, MD Textile made sure that they did not want any Facebook page owner to go through the same thing that they had and they did their own investigations as to why their page got shut down in the first place. They shared 3 tips to help other page owners to avoid the same mishap.
1. Use url shorteners with caution! Especially when get a security prompt that disallowed your link. It will draw attention of the security team.
“I tried to post the url shorterner (http://tinyurl.com/votemdtextile), but a security prompt appeared. It would not accept this url. I had to change to another shortened url (bit.ly/topecm16vote) which is the site’s organisers own created shortener. Facebook accepted my post, and later went on to approve my boost. Here’s a sample of the security prompt.” (image above)
2. Especially do not use url shorteners with an image of money on the same post. It looks like a recipe of a typical scam.
“This was the post that got removed the first time. It had a specimen picture of a five ringgit bill. It contains a message appealing visitors to vote. With it, a shortened link to the voting app (http://tinyurl.com/votemdtextile). The vote site evidently is the organisers own Facebook polling app. Where really was the violation? I am stumped. A good friend of mine suggested, maybe it was the combination of the dollar bills and the usage of url shorteners, that scammers like to employ.”
3. Run contests with caution, you are threading on grey areas.
“The post I made was of good intent. It was not spammy or phishing in nature. Someone suggested that the combination of showing a currency bill and using url shorterners looks like a phishing post. It probably triggered the Facebook security algorithm. And they auto pass judgment. It’s hard to say what really is the cause. Facebook will not disclose this. But what I noticed is that the url shortener is blacklisted.”
Page owners can learn a thing or two from MD Textile’s unfortunate page termination, by being careful about how and what they post on their page. Certain content might have a higher tendency of being flagged and whoever has the power ultimately has the final say. In this case, Facebook has the final say and MD Textile have no choice but to start a new page, which they have and now it has accumulated 100+ likes.
The team shared with Vulcan Post their advice to other page owners, “Once you see your posts disappear, or a link giving you an error message – don’t attempt to repost.” They also added on their page, “Maybe in the future, I’ll just hire a pro to do it. If this post has benefited you, I invite you to like my new page. It’s already 1 day old and has got almost 100 likes. Maybe in 1.5 years, at this pace, I will arrive again at the position when it got punked.”