The Stunning Story of My Trip to Facebook Prison

fb account

I’m not a hating kind of guy. But…

I HATE Facebook.

Lots of reasons. But here’s the latest…

A few months ago, I set up a Facebook business account so I could run ads to promote Story Power Marketing.

I logged in the other day to set up a new user.

But I couldn’t manage the account because I’m no longer an Admin.

Facebook has locked me in account management prison.

They changed my status from “Administrator” to “Employee” because I’m not using two-factor authentication to login.

I get it. Facebook wants to beef up security. That’s fine.

But I received no warning about this. Just WHACK! You no longer can administer the account you created.

So I immediately set up two-factor authentication and started a chat with Facebook “support.”

I told them I secured my login. I asked them to set me free. Here’s a summary of the chat:

Support:” You want us to restore admin access? Not so fast. How do we know you are who you say you are?

Me: Well, I’m logged in to Facebook as me. I am the same me who set up the business account. The same me who just set up two-factor authentication. You wouldn’t let me chat with you if I wasn’t logged in. You can see it’s ME, can’t you?

Support:” Yes, we can see that it’s you. But according to our policies, we can’t reinstate admin access until you PROVE you are you.

Me: How do I do that?

Support:” Here’s list of documents you must submit.

The list included, among other things, my company’s articles of organization and copies of the last four receipts for monthly advertising.

I logged into my account to retrieve the receipts.

I couldn’t get them because — you guessed it! — I don’t have admin access.

(I might have laughed if I wasn’t screaming.)

I returned to the chat.

Me: I can’t get the receipts. What should I do?

Support:” Ask someone else in your organization with admin rights to get them.

Me: There is no one else with admin rights.

Support:” Well there must have been someone with admin rights who changed your status. Maybe you’ve worked with an ad agency and someone there had access to your account and changed your rights. Maybe the ad agency can get the receipts.

Me: No ad agency. No other admins. I created the account. Only me. And — oh, by the way — I’ve told you already: YOU changed my status from Admin to Employee. You did this to me, Facebook.

(And here came the part that me laugh and scream — all at the same time)

Support:” We certainly did not want this to happen to your account. Me (seething): This didn’t just happen. YOU did this…“Support:” You sound frustrated. Again, we didn’t want this to happen. But according to our policies, you have to submit the documents. If you can’t submit the documents, we may not be able to reinstate you as an admin.

And it went on from there. It gets even better, but we have to move on to some business lessons. I’ll share the rest of the story another time.

For now, some morals of this story. There are so many:

There’s a Difference Between What You’re ABLE to Do and What You CHOOSE to Do

When a “support” rep tells you they are not “able” to do something, they usually mean they CHOOSE not to do something. Facebook can reinstate my admin status. Time will tell if they choose to. If you catch yourself telling a customer, “We’re not able…,” ask yourself: Is this really something you cannot do, or is it something you choose not to do.

Either way, ask yourself why you can’t/won’t.

Don’t Get Stuck as the One-and-Only On Critical Accounts

Have a secondary admin for all your critical accounts.

As I marched through the nine circles of Facebook Hell the other day, I recalled a tip I once heard: When you set up your business account, add your spouse or some other close friend/relative as an account admin. You may need their help later.

I didn’t do that. Shame on me. If my wife had access, she could have fixed this for me (assuming, of course, she had activated two-factor authentication and kept her admin status). Have a backup. This applies not just to Facebook. It applies to everything in your business and life.

You Do NOT “Own” The Marketing Channels You Rely OnIn my chat with “Support,” I said, “I created the account. I’m the owner.” Ummmm….no. I’m not the owner. Facebook owns the account. And if I want to play on Facebook, they own me.

They can shut me down for any reason, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Same goes for LinkedIn and other social platforms. Same goes for your website host. Same goes for your email service provider. Same goes with your Google search marketing account.

Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket

(See you do not “own” the marketing channels above)

I know people whose businesses collapsed because they relied on one marketing channel to grow their business, and that channel went “POOF!”

Sometimes, “Support” locks you out. Other times, the channel changes the rules so drastically that your entire marketing program stops working.

Diversify. Use multiple marketing channels. Back-up your email list so you have it if/when your email provider locks you out.

Prepare to be mistreated by the internet giants.

Don’t act surprised and say, “What now?” when it happens.

Control What You Can Control: Your Stories

Marketing is a three-legged stool: The market (the people you’re trying to reach); Your message (the stories you deliver to that market); Media (the channels you use to deliver your message to the market).

Notice that only one of those three begins with “Your.” You own the stories you tell. No one can take those away from you.

Even if you identify your market properly, even if you have channels that work and don’t abuse you, you’ll generate feeble results if you deliver feeble content. You’ll generate powerful results with powerful stories.

No one can take your stories away from you. Focus first on that, and the rest will fall into place.

Whenever you’re ready…here are a few ways we can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you’ll land more clients:

1) Follow Tom Ruwitch on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Attend our free training: “How to Harness the Magnetic Power of Storytelling…” Discover how to transform marketing from a confusing, resource-draining hassle into something that’s simple, fun AND productive. Details and registration here.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.