What I’m about to share with you, I hope scares the absolute crap out of you. I’ve made no bones about my love-hate relationship with social media, and this article will be no exception.
I’m often torn between proclaiming that all social media is bullsh!t and a complete waste of your investment of time and money, but then something happens that completely surprises me and demonstrates that sometimes social media does work (but those events are few and far between). This month, I’m back on team “I hate social media’ again, and I think you will quickly see why.
I’ve been writing the hard facts about social media for some time now, and many, many, many of you still think social media is the best form of marketing and advertising for your business. Despite my numerous articles showing how organic reach keeps diminishing and diminishing (currently, 0.7 percent is the best organic reach your facebook post will reach – that’s one person who will see your post if you have 700 followers). So many of you are investing heavily in this medium, and are completely oblivious to the fact that you are spending a lot of time and money in a house, or business, built on sand.
This may come as a great surprise to a lot of you, but, you agreed to certain terms of service, and these terms of service clearly state you own nothing, you are a guest on these social media platforms, and you can be booted off, banned and blacklisted at ANYTIME.
Don’t believe me? Go back and read Facebook’s terms of service. Here is a link for you reading online: click here
Let me call your specific attention to this clause within Facebook’s terms of service that so many of you have overlooked:
If we determine, in our discretion, that you have clearly, seriously or repeatedly breached our Terms or Policies, including in particular the Community Standards, we may suspend or permanently disable your access to Meta Company Products, and we may permanently disable or delete your account. We may also disable or delete your account if you repeatedly infringe other people’s intellectual property rights or where we are required to do so for legal reasons.
Did you catch that? If we (Facebook) in their discretion, may suspend or permanently disable access to your account.
Your account? Ah, no. It’s not your account, at all. And, Facebook is sole judge, jury, and executioner regarding allowing access to ‘your account’.
Oh, that will never happen. And, if it DOES happen, Facebook must have a good reason, or you can appeal to a ‘reasonable’ person (live human being) and get your account restored.
Ahhhhhh….no! Nope! No! No way! Nada! Nicht! Nein! No, no, no, nooooooo!
It’s crystal clear, in black and white, plain simple English, that Facebook can (and will) deny you access to the platform, up to and including banning or deleting your account, completely at Facebook’s discretion.
And, recently, that’s exactly what happened to me.
Can you imagine logging in, and you are greeted with this message…
Boom! Just like that, 10 years plus of social media work, GONE! All the hours of posting, GONE! Years of photos posted and shared, GONE! Let’s not even get into the huge amounts of money I’ve spent personally as well as on behalf of my clients, all that counts or counted, for absolutely, NOTHING!
Not even a message informing me specifically what I’d done wrong. Just the general link to ‘community standards”. Yeah, helpful, really helpful……..Not!
I felt absolutely terrible. All that work, gone, in an instant. But, it reminded me just how unstable a house of cards like social media can be. Once again, I was back to believing just how much bullsh!t social media can be.
Imagine this was your account. Imagine you had invested thousands or tens of thousands building your page and page followers, only to log in and find out you had invariably violated some undocumented unpublished policy, or the algorithm suddenly found your latest witty remark was what Facebook or its algorithm decided violate community standards, and boom, your page is suspended, your access revoked, and you are completely cut off. Yep, it happens. And, you may not have any recourse.
In my case, I have a team on the inside of Facebook. As a Facebook agency, I have folks on the inside I can reach out to. But, even with friends on the inside, there are no assurances. I appealed my suspension, and I was fortunate.
My alleged infraction was the simple act of sharing a link to a Canadian news story on a Canadian news media website. Canada has passed a law forcing social media to pay compensation to Canadian news outlets for news content. The social media platforms as well as Google have simply removed all media outlets from their platforms in retaliation to Bill C-18. My crime was linking to a news story, which now violates Facebook’s terms of service regarding engaging in illegal activities (yes, sharing a link to a news story is now apparently illegal in Canada). This resulted in my personal profile being banned or suspended for ten days while I used the appeal process to plead my case. Apparently, my arguments prevailed and were accepted.
Again, I was fortunate. I know many who have not. Even Presidents are subject to terms of service Remember Twitter suspending President Trump’s Twitter account? Even the highest office in the USA does not supersede the all powerful terms of service agreement.
So, one last time, if you are relying on social media as your sole channel of marketing and communication with your lifeblood, your customers, you are building your foundation on shifting, unstable sand. You are a great risk of losing it all at a moments blink of an eye. I simply can’t stress enough how much your butts are exposed relying heavily on social media. You have been strongly warned.