Has your Facebook Page been hijacked?

What if someone else has your Facebook Page — that account Facebook encourages for businesses and organizations that is managed from your personal Facebook account? One of my first experiences in reclaiming a hijacked page, over 3 years ago now, was a doozy.

Talk about a sinkhole. The person who built the Page for the merchant association, and managed it to more than 63,000 fans, wasn’t responding. They no longer were a member of the association board,  closed their business in the district, phone numbers disconnected, emails and Facebook messages unreturned, but yet  posts continued to appear on the Page promoting competitors.

And it was driving the members of this merchant association nuts!

I couldn’t blame them. Business is tough for small, locally-owned retailers and restaurants who banked on their physical location when they first opened their business, and who’s commitment to service and selection had built enough of a reputation and goodwill that their shopping district  had received that many Likes, more than any television station in town.

Now its posts was being sold or given away to competitors?!

Does someone have your page? Do you have phantom duplicate listings you can’t claim?

I wish that Zuckerberg had started his sophomore year at UNO with me, or that I knew anyone at Facebook. Someone to call and explain this to and get things remedied. Good luck. Phone numbers are notoriously absent, except for the repeated demands that they need your cell phone number for security purposes.

Online help isn’t much better. The first result in a Faceook help search gives you the details on claiming unclaimed pages, but that wasn’t much help here, the Page was claimed and built up. Pretty sure this violates Facebook Community Standards on Identity and Privacy (scroll down to find it): “On Facebook people connect using their real names and identities. … Claiming to be another person, creating a false presence for an organization, or creating multiple accounts undermines community and violates Facebook’s terms.” It was legit when they first built the Page, but what happens when they no longer represent the organization?

But I’m here today and can say that there are people at Facebook who can listen to reason and that right can be made right. I’ve never talked to them and I only know them by their first name and last initial. I’m not sure that’s real, but in the end that didn’t matter. Serendipity and persistence solved this after some time, and the steps I outline below are only a starting point and one experience. There is a human somewhere making a decision, after all.

In next week’s post, I’ll explain how we reclaimed the hijacked page.