Agents in limbo after Facebook suddenly removes their pages

Facebook removes pages
By Lisa James
10/05/2023
Home » Agents in limbo after Facebook suddenly removes their pages

 

Many agents found themselves unable to communicate with customers on Facebook over the last few days after the social media giant unpublished their business pages without warning.

Travel consultants weren’t told why their pages had been taken down and some were given a different explanation each time they contacted Facebook owner Meta’s customer support.

One agency group, Co-op Travel, said it understood the issue occured as a result of updates to Facebook’s community standards technology.

Agents whose pages had been deactivated were told they could accept the decision or appeal it. On appeal, many agents then found their pages were republished – but with restricted access, meaning they couldn’t post or respond to messages and comments for several days.

Agents told Travel Gossip they were left chasing Meta to find out how they could get access and how long it would take.

Catherine Nathwani, Personal Travel Consultant with Hays Travel, described it as an ‘absolute nightmare’.

She told Travel Gossip her page was unpublished on Thursday 4 May with no warning, then republished the following day after she appealed. However, like other agents, she and anyone else who had admin access were blocked from using it.

“This actually seemed worse than being unpublished because customers could comment on posts, send me messages but I couldn’t respond,” she said.

“I was advised to contact Meta via their email support link but this is only valid when connecting to a FB account that doesn’t have restrictions on it.

“One of the team at head office contacted them on my behalf but they refused to deal directly with me as I hadn’t initiated the chat and they couldn’t deal with her as she’s not Catherine Nathwani.”

She added: “It was a long five days.  Their [Facebook’s] customer service is absolutely appalling. I have no idea how it’s back but am now looking into other methods of advertising as I don’t want to be in this position again.”

Personal Travel Consultant at Blue Bay Travel Carly Cockburn’s page also went down last Thursday and was unusable until yesterday.

She was told by Meta Live Chat that her page had been reported for impersonating or duplicating content.

“On Friday morning my page was published again but I had lost all ability to post or reply to messages so seemed a bit fruitless having it back,” she said.

“I was checking all over the weekend to see if anything had come back and then at 9am on Tuesday everything reverted back to normal!

“I’m assuming it’s because we all post offers that are sent out by tour ops and it’s flagged with the robot, so I’m trying to make my posts a bit more personalised now. But it’s time consuming. I’m just hoping it doesn’t happen again.”

Carly added: “I wasn’t planning on working the Bank Holiday weekend, but if it had not been a Bank Holiday, I would have been impacted more.

“The stress of not knowing if I was getting my page back was the worst part. It’s worrying for the future knowing that Meta could just take away all of my clients/prospective clients in the blink of an eye.”

InteleTravel agent Tamar Guntrip, meanwhile, is still waiting for her page to be fully reactivated.

She said: “I haven’t had a real explanation from Meta. Only that Tamar’s Travel goes against the community standards.

“I’ve tried messaging several ways, to no avail. The page was taken down completely at first. It is however now public again for people to to view but I’m still unable to post. I was hoping it might be resolved after the Bank Holiday, but it hasn’t.”

Katie Blunt, Travel Channels Marketing Manager at Your Co-op Travel said: “Five retail branches, from our network of 71, saw their Facebook business pages go offline last week. This meant that content wasn’t distributed, posts weren’t boosted, advertisements didn’t run, and customers weren’t reached for a short period of time.

“We have worked with Meta and the branches affected to reinstate the pages, and this issue has now been resolved. Our advice to any other businesses that are experiencing issues is to contact Meta support.”

Sheena Whittle, Head of the Personal Travel Agents, part of Your Co-op Travel, said: “Due to Facebook updates in the community standards technology, 12 of our Personal Travel Agents saw their pages unpublished from Thursday last week.

“Our Marketing and Social Media Manager, Kiri Dulay, worked with these agents to appeal the cases and all pages are now republished and active.”

Why does Facebook take down pages?

Facebook said it takes down or places limits on pages if they don’t follow its Community Standards.

“For example, Pages that publish spam may be unpublished or deactivated, or the Like button may be disabled on Pages that we determine deceptively get likes. Using multiple accounts or accounts with fake names may result in your account being disabled,” Facebook says.

Other reasons could be because not all page admins have authentic profiles, page managers have breached Community Standards, a page has a ‘misleading’ name, content on the page ‘may mislead people’, the page violates Facebook’s ad policy or goes against its hate speech policies.

What to do if your page is taken down

Facebook’s advice is: “If you believe that your page was taken down or received limits by mistake, please let us know by going to your Page and clicking Appeal at the top. If you think your account was disabled by mistake, please contact us.”

Travel Gossip has contacted Meta/Facebook for more details.

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