Are you guilty of having a second fake Facebook profile to log into, either for work or to hide from your family or ex’s? In my line of work, helping people untangle Facebook ad accounts and business permissions, I see it so commonly that it gives me anxiety.
Common Reasons Legitimate People Are Using Fake Profiles For Work
I get it, you don’t want to be connected to your coworkers, boss, or employees on Facebook. You want a personal life.
The most common reason why I see real, honest and authentic people legitimately using Facebook under a fake user profiles is because they are unfamiliar with how Facebook works, especially with how Pages are connected to People, Business Accounts are connected to People, and Advertising Tools are connected to a Business Account.
There are ways to give other people access to a Facebook Page without having to be friends with them using Business Suite. Read “3 Ways You Can Give Other People Access To Your Facebook Business Page“.
It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN you will lose your account.
Ignorance is bliss. Until both of your profiles are flagged and you’re locked out of being able to advertise on Facebook, or worse, locked out of Facebook altogether.
Rewind about 5 years ago and yes we could all get away with having second profiles with nearly no consequences. Now, however, Facebook’s parent company Meta is stepping up their efforts to stamp out inauthentic behavior on their platforms.
Just today Meta released their January 2022 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report.
This post isn’t meant to lecture you. Yes it will educate you. But ultimately what I want it to do is PROTECT you from the nightmare that is the vortex of trying to get help through Facebook Support and to make your life easier.
You can take some simple steps now:
1) Ditch that fake profile like it’s a hot potato now! Shut ‘er down!
2) Make sure you’ve got 2-factor authentication turned on for your real personal profile.
3) Use Facebook’s Business Suite to manage your business.
Inauthentic behavior on Facebook is a one way street to violating Facebook’s Community Standards and getting yourself booted off the platform.
If you are currently locked out of Facebook
You can fill out this form to verify your identity: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/183000765122339
Facebook will ask you to upload a copy of your drivers license or passport.
Why Is It Such A Big Deal?
Facebook has been tightening up enforcement of authenticity and they are ultra sensitive to profiles misleading people about your identity.
Facebook’s community standards highlight four values:
And more specifically about Authenticity, Facebook says
“We want to make sure the content people see on Facebook is authentic. We believe that authenticity creates a better environment for sharing, and that’s why we don’t want people using Facebook to misrepresent who they are or what they’re doing.”
In order to tackle the ongoing issue of coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) on the platform, it starts with Facebook having a good handle on disabling inauthentic accounts on their platform.
What is Inauthentic Behavior?
The use of Facebook or Instagram assets (accounts, Pages, Groups, or Events), to mislead people or Facebook:
- About the identity, purpose, or origin of the entity that they represent.
- About the popularity of Facebook or Instagram content or assets.
- About the purpose of an audience or community.
- About the source or origin of content.
- To evade enforcement under our Community Standards.
What is Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB)?
CIB is any coordinated network of accounts, Pages and Groups on our platforms that centrally relies on fake accounts to mislead Facebook and people using their services about who is behind the operation and what they are doing.
According to the Facebook’s State of Influence Operations 2017-2020 Threat Report, the top 5 countries of origin for Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB) were:
According to Facebook:
“This report draws on over 150 CIB networks that we found and disrupted on our platform since 2017. Because our CIB reports share our findings with relative consistency, they provide a public record of threat evolution and response to known CIB networks. To the best of our knowledge, these reports constitute the most comprehensive record of both foreign and domestic IO operations, including state and non-state campaigns, and therefore provide a useful window into the global nature and trends of IO. These networks came from over 50 countries and operated in dozens of languages. We continue to grow our global capacity and will keep reporting our findings across various facets of influence operations.”
Examples of Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior
Misinformation on this scale has the potential to skew election results, fuel protests, destabilize communities, and interfere with public trust.
A group of people using Facebook’s platform with malicious intent could pose as an independent news organization or community group sharing content designed to influence opinions and mislead people on topics related to politics or international affairs. Misinformation fuels conflict or contributes to people making decisions they may not have otherwise made with more accurate, authentic and factual information.
Below is an example from Facebook on one Page that was taken down for CIB:
The “Resisters” Page also created a Facebook Event for a protest on August 10 to 12 and enlisted support from real people. The Event – “No Unite the Right 2 – DC” – was scheduled to protest an August “Unite the Right” event in Washington. Inauthentic admins of the “Resisters” Page connected with admins from five legitimate Pages to co-host the event. These legitimate Pages unwittingly helped build interest in “No Unite Right 2 – DC” and posted information about transportation, materials, and locations so people could get to the protests.
More recently, Meta removed a network of three Facebook accounts operated from Russia that targeted primarily Nigeria, Cameroon, Gambia, Zimbabwe and Congo with the intent of contacting journalists in Africa to trick them into publishing articles on their behalf.
“With these operations continuing to target authentic communities, it’s critical for us all, including journalists, influencers and public figures, to keep vigilant and carefully vet information before amplifying it to avoid playing into the hands of threat actors.”
Combating CIB Starts With Authentic Profiles On Facebook
So you can see why Meta needs to take this seriously and invest into resources making sure users of their platforms are representing themselves authentically. And now it might make more sense as to why so many of us have experienced login issues with having to verify our identity using our driver’s license or passport.
So What This Means For You Is
Avoid the headache. You need to authentically represent yourself on Facebook using your real name and actual photo and discontinue using any fake profiles.
Facebook may temporarily restrict your account before permanently disabling it if your account is involved in any of the following:
Accounts misrepresenting their identity (Facebook and Messenger only) by:
- Using a name that is not the authentic name you go by in everyday life
- Using an inherently violating name, containing slurs or any other violations of the Community Standards
- Providing a false date of birth.
- Creating a single account that represents or is used by more than one person.
- Maintaining multiple accounts as a single user.
- Compromised accounts.
- Empty accounts with prolonged dormancy.
The “work” account you’ve been using for years to keep your personal life from your boss is a sitting duck waiting to being disabled.
The shared profile someone created years ago so all of your coworkers can login and manage the company Facebook page needs to go.
The hobby account you created years ago to connect with your gaming friends is past its expiry date.
And your legitimate profile may get flagged for violating Facebook’s Community Standards. Once that happens it’s complicated to use Facebook’s services.
And if you do use Facebook’s services for advertising or managing a business, it gets even more complicated. If your personal profile is compromised, it can prevent you from accessing your Business Account, Ad Account, and other services related to Facebook.
Not to mention the hyperloop you can get caught in with trying to reach Facebook Support and getting nowhere with it while trying to verify your identity.
Have we agreed it’s time to let the fake profiles go?
Evading Enforcement of Community Standards
Another reason I see people creating a second profile is because their first profile has been compromised, restricted or deactivated. Once you have intentionally or unintentionally violated Facebook’s policies, creating a second profile to bypass that violation will not be of much help to you. The best approach is to use your authentic profile and appeal or follow up with Facebook Support.
I am coming across an increasing number of people who can still login to Facebook but when they go to run ads they discover they are blocked from advertising on the platform. This also means they can’t add users to their business account, create a new business account or create new ad accounts. The only way to deal with this is to go through Facebook Support.
Use this link, and halfway down you should see a Get Started button for added support which will allow you to open a chat with FB support https://www.facebook.com/business/help
If you want to check to see if you are facing any restrictions on the Business side of Facebook, you can go to https://business.facebook.com/accountquality/
Logging In Using Someone Else’s Authentic Profile
If navigating Facebook’s settings or business tools feels overwhelming, you may think the easy solution would be to just give your Facebook profile login info to someone you trust who can help you.
Please don’t give anyone your Facebook login information.
If your authentic profile is simultaneously logging in on different computers and different IP addresses, this may trigger Facebook to flag your account and you may be temporarily restricted until you verify your identity.
Instead, grant permissions to others who need to access your Business Page or other Business Assets through the Business Settings of your Business Manager. Here is a shortcut to it: www.business.facebook.com
Or use trusted third party tools like Agorapulse.
Overwhelmed And Need Help?
Consider becoming a Member of Swift Kick In The Ads at $49/mo and get untangled. We have live trainings, open office hours, and Q&A support to help you. Or if you want to cut straight to getting 1-on-1 help on Zoom, you can book an hour here: https://calendly.com/thedigitalgal/1-on-1-the-digital-gal
Facebook January 2022 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report
Facebook has assembled all of their news and reporting on CIB in one easy to find location: