Facebook has taken many actions in the past few years to remove malicious actors and to make page management more transparent. Making the ownership and management of a page should make it harder for people to mask the motives behind the content posted on social media. The company has also taken more action against against individuals that seriously or routinely violate the platform's guidelines. Facebook recently announced a pair of updates to their policy that will lower the distribution of certain kinds of content, and remove pages that are linked to people that have been punished by the platform.
Social media giants have come under increased pressure for the way they handle misinformation on their platform. Facebook is the largest target for this criticism since, through the acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, it owns three of the four major global social media platforms. To make page owners more aware of when their content is being affected by policies to fight misinformation, Facebook has added a new tab that shows when a page's content was removed for violating Community Standards and or when the reach of a post has been reduced because it has been rated false by a third-party fact-checker.
This is both good and bad for social media marketers. Having a tab that makes it clear when Facebook has taken action makes it easier to fine-tune a marketing strategy to stay in Facebook's good graces. For example, marketing nutritional items and health supplements is tricky when it comes to factual accuracy. Having a tab that lets marketers know when their reach is being affected because of a certain claim makes it easier to adjust future posts.
The tab will include a section showing content that was recently removed for violating a subset of the Community Standards and a second section showing content recently rated "False," "Mixture" or "False Headline" by third-party fact-checkers.
For the negatives, social media marketers will need to take accuracy into consideration more, since there will be an easy-to-see report that shows when inaccuracies are hurting the overall campaign. No one wants to be in a meeting where they have to explain to a client why some of their content is being cut or throttled by Facebook.
The other announcement Facebook made is more serious in the far-reaching effects it can have. Page owners need to be wary when they grant access rights to their Facebook Business page. This has always been good advice, but Facebook announced a change in policy that will allow it to remove pages and groups that have managers that were banned from creating new pages.
As the company explained in the update, "We've long prohibited people from creating new Pages, groups, events, or accounts that look similar to those we've previously removed for violating our Community Standards. However, we've seen people working to get around our enforcement by using existing Pages that they already manage for the same purpose as the Page we removed for violating our standards."
In an attempt to prevent this from happening, Facebook has said that when a Page or Group is removed for violations, other Pages and Groups linked to the removed page may be deleted, "even if that specific Page or Group has not met the threshold to be unpublished on its own".
The broadness of that final statement should not be underestimated. It gives Facebook a large amount of leeway when it wants to remove pages or remove the influence of malicious actors. Facebook has said they will look at a broad set of information, including whether the Page has the same people administering it, or has a similar name, to one was removed.
In practical terms, this means that business pages need to be careful about the kind of people they trust to run their Facebook page, especially if their Facebook page is already toeing the line for what Facebook considers acceptable. If a legitimate page has someone listed as an admin that is breaking Facebook's rules on another page, the legitimate business page can be punished. With these changes, now is a good time to review the quality of the content your social media team is producing and to review the people listed as admins on the page.
For more recent news about changes and updates to Facebook, read this article on the new WhatsApp ad placement options on Facebook.