Using Facebook for Your Customer Community? Think Again! - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

01:48 PM
Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
Connect Directly

Using Facebook for Your Customer Community? Think Again!

Given the rapid growth of Facebook over the last year it''s no wonder that many companies are embracing it to create communities for their customers, partners, and fans. But before deciding to use Facebook for your public facing community, or if you already using Facebook, think again.

Last week I got exposed to the other side of Facebook, namely their ability to rescind or suspend accounts without any notification, explanation, or seemingly any recourse. It all started on Monday morning when I received a few messages from my European friends letting me know that someone had reached out to them via Facebook IM, said that I was stuck in London, had been robbed, and needed them to wire me money so I can get home. This scam is not new, in fact Facebook has documented it. Fortunately my friends were savvy enough to realize I probably wasn''t in London, and even if I was, I wouldn''t ask them to send me any cash.

So I immediately logged into my account and changed my password. I then reported the attack to Facebook via their "[email protected]" account. A few hours later I noticed that Adium became disconnected, and when I logged into Facebook I got a message that my account had been disabled with no explanation.

The disabled message pointed me to their FAQ (, which said to e-mail [email protected] from the associated e-mail account, so that''s what I did. That was on March 15th. Since then I''ve heard nothing. Apparently I''m not alone. Searching twitter or google for "Facebook" and "disabled" reveals numerous other individuals who have had the same experience. There''s even a rapidly growing discussion over at In some cases users report their accounts being reactivated in days, for others its weeks or not at all.

So what does this mean for your efforts to use Facebook for your public-facing community?

1. You better have multiple administrators! There are numerous examples in the link I noted above of those responsible for their company's community being locked out, often at inopportune time such as during a new product launch.

2. You better be prepared to tell your customers who get locked out of their Facebook account and can''t access your community that you can''t help them.

The fact that Facebook not only can''t adequately support its users, but shades its policies such that many will never learn why their account was disabled should drive you to consider other options. Go ahead and create a Facebook page, but consider using it for sharing information while creating your own public facing community using a built-for-business platform to enable information sharing for your customers. They''ll thank you for it.

In the meantime, if anyone from Facebook is reading this, how about a response?

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

New Storage Trends Promise to Help Enterprises Handle a Data Avalanche
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  4/1/2021
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
How to Submit a Column to InformationWeek
InformationWeek Staff 4/9/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll