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What you'll learn:

  • What is Facebook Jail?
  • What to expect if your account is restricted
  • Steps to take after your account is released
  • Typical behaviors that trigger Facebook Jail
  • Common Facebook Jail myths and truths


Who this guide is for:

  • Online Retailers
  • Wholesalers
  • Direct sellers
  • Social Sellers
Facebook Jail Infographic Cover

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Facebook Jail is a notorious topic for anyone who regularly uses the social platform to sell or promote their business. As a social seller, it’s crucial to know what it is so you can avoid any complications and interruptions in your use of the platform.

Facebook Jail notification



What is Facebook Jail?

Facebook Jail is the term used when Facebook suspends accounts (profile or business page) for breaking the Facebook Community Standards.

Facebook will suspend an account’s ability to post or to use specific features for a while due to violations, suspicious logins, or spammy behavior.

Facebook alert about violating Community Standards

What can I expect if I get put in jail?

Facebook’s penalties range from being blocked from posting to being cut off from logging into your account. These sentences can last from just a couple of hours to up to 21 days.

Facebook notification about an account being temporarily locked

Why is Facebook doing this?

On September 17, 2019, Facebook announced the additional measures they are putting in place to Combat Hate and Extremism throughout the Facebook Community. 

While frustrating, it’s important to remember that Facebook is doing this to uphold authenticity, safety, privacy, and dignity for all members of the Facebook Community.


What happens if I’m in jail?

If you’re in Facebook Jail, you aren’t alone. These additional measures have resulted in increased restrictions for a considerable number of business and personal pages.

Fortunately, Facebook Jail doesn’t last forever. Just remain cautious when you get out. There is typically a seven day probation period after you serve your Facebook Jail time.


Facebook Jail Myths Debunked

We want to set the record straight as we debunk the myths surrounding the offenses. We’ll cover the top 6 Facebook Jail myths and the real info behind the guaranteed ban-worthy behaviors.


Myth #1

Using third-party apps is guaranteed jail time.

Countless people use third-party apps every single day to keep up with their busy schedules and growing businesses. You can use third-party apps without ever seeing jail, so how did this rumor get started?

In the wake of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has taken measures to keep users’ data safe. As a result, they have suspended some accounts using third-party apps because they were knowingly or unknowingly abusing their powers to violate Community Standards.

If you find yourself worried about if the apps themselves are compliant with Community Standards, we suggest you review their privacy policies. It’s also a good idea to remove any that you don’t use.


Myth # 2 

Automated messages will get your account suspended.

Automated messages are not against Facebook’s policies. However, using automated messages irresponsibly is.

Mass messaging and automatic comment replies can be extremely helpful in promoting your business, but do it too often, and you’ll be in trouble. Space out your Messenger communications and turn off auto-replies that aren’t necessary for doing business.

If you’re going to send mass communications with Messenger, do it carefully and thoughtfully. Give people control over the messages they receive with clear ways to opt-in and out. Facebook Messenger will suspend pages that have high block rates, so it’s in your best interest to make these messages relevant and valuable to your subscribers.


Myth #3 

The use of auto-schedulers is a jail-worthy offense.

Thank goodness this is a myth! Auto-schedulers are a vital part of content planning and a real time-saver! The problem here is that back-to-back posting makes you look like a bot.

Auto-schedulers aren’t a problem. It’s the frequency that you’re posting to pages, walls, and groups. Space out your posts and avoid posting more than once per hour.

It’s also crucial to diversify your content when scheduling your posting to more than one place. Facebook favors original content because duplicate posts look like a bot. Therefore, you can’t rely on copy and pasting.

It’s an easy fix, however. You can make your content look more original with only a few simple changes to your text or photos. If you’re sharing a live video, give it a few minutes between shares.


An example of a pinned Facebook comment.


Myth #4

You’re not allowed to promote outside links.

Promotional links are a-okay! As mentioned above, originality is key to keeping Facebook’s good graces. This rule is not exclusive to photos and messaging. The issue is that links look like identical content.

But not to worry! You can place the link within the comment section and pin it to the top as a workaround. It will also give you the added benefit of sparking up more engagement.


Myth #5

It’s okay for team members to use an account on my behalf.

Social selling can take a high degree of coordination between photographing products, copywriting, promoting, and scheduling. If you have multiple people doing this work, it’s tempting to allow them to post on your behalf.

Do not do this. You should only sign into a single device (single phone or computer) and never share that account with others.

If you want to give your team members admin or editing powers, you can assign them specific roles within your groups and pages.


Myth #6

Using the word “sold” is risky.

Using the word “sold” won’t do anything. Social sellers are getting banned more often than usual - but it’s because they’re either are (or look like they are) selling products that are against Community Standards.


A woman commenting sold.


According to Facebook's guidelines, you can’t sell: 

  • Anything that isn’t a real, physical item
  • Any services or event tickets
  • Any item with an image/description that doesn’t match
  • Any items involving healthcare
  • Any item with before and after photos
  • Any sales post describing an animal

The last one is particularly tricky. Facebook mistakenly flags keywords social sellers use for the sale of exotic animals. Since most social sellers are boutique owners, they get targeted when using phrases associated with animal print names.

You can get around this by putting an emoji in place of the animal name. For instance, instead of leopard print, use the emoji: 🐆. Even “buffalo” plaid can get you in trouble, so triple check your posts before scheduling.

Social sellers are also facing more penalties since they are continuously publishing sales posts. Facebook does not like the use of dollar signs or decimal points. Eliminate these by rounding up your prices and using dollar sign emojis.

If your posts are turning on Facebook sales format when you publish, turn it off in the post’s settings. Too many of these types of posts will, again, trigger a Facebook suspension.


Stop Spamming & Start Selling

Being spammy isn’t just annoying to your customers, it goes against Facebook’s Community Standards. To keep in the good graces of both, you’ll need to be mindful of specific behaviors that are considered spammy. Below, you’ll find a list of these behaviors and ways you can fix them.


1. Posting content without value

More content means more sales, right? Wrong! If it doesn’t have value, it can look like all you care about is promoting yourself or your business.

Be thoughtful about your content. Ask yourself these two questions:

For instance, a video that shows your team participating in an internet challenge is not only fun to watch, but it allows people to get to know the people who work behind the scenes.

An example of this would be a fit video that demos the cut, length, and fit of an item! Your customers care about this type of content because it’s giving them valuable information about the topics or products that they find interesting.
A woman on a laptop looking frustrated


2. Posting unoriginal content

Use original content on each post. When you use the same photos, video, or messaging over and over, it’s at risk of being flagged by Facebook.

Besides, don’t be boring! Variety is the spice of life, so make sure you have diversity in the dierent types of content you post. Your shoppers will appreciate you giving them more ways to interact, and they’ll be way less likely to get bored with what you post.

Related Reading: 7 Types of High Performing Content For Social Sales


3. Back-to-back posting

Avoid posting more than once per hour to business pages and groups. Spreading out your post has higher amounts of engagement versus posting back-to-back anyways!

If it’s a static post, change up the text. If it’s a Live Sale, wait a few minutes between sharing to dierent pages and groups.


4. Promoting your business on other groups or pages without permission

Promoting or selling on other pages or groups without permission is a surefire way to get suspended. Blindly posting like this is rude, annoying, and also very risky. If you go this route, be sure you have express permission to do this.


5. Questionable tagging

Don’t get too tag happy. If you tag people too often, you’re going to annoy them, and they may report you.

Facebook is also especially picky about tagging in photos. Never tag people directly in pictures if they have nothing to do with it. If you know someone that might be genuinely interested in an image, tag them in the comments instead.


6. Sending out too many friend requests

Sending out an influx of friend requests looks like unusual behavior to Facebook. It also takes note of how many past friend requests have gone unanswered and will suspend you for it.

To avoid this, be cautious about requesting people you don’t know. People don’t expect unsolicited messages from strangers, so it makes sense that they don’t answer your requests or report them.


Woman looking distressed with multiple Facebook friend requests


7. Placing links inside posts

Facebook sees links in posts as spammy. However, adding your links inside the comment section is an easy workaround to keep you out of jail. Then, you can pin that comment to the top, where customers can still easily find it.

As an added benefit, it will also keep your customers talking. Those who are just hopping on a post or live video are more likely to spark up conversations about how to purchase with you. You’d be surprised how quickly other shoppers are willing to jump in to help. These discussions will give you a lift in engagement.


8. Posts containing dollar signs or decimal points

Make your prices a nice even number and exclude any dollar signs. If you’d like to include a dollar sign, use the dollar sign emoji as a workaround.


9. Leaving Facebook’s Sales Format on posts

Marketplace posts are usually an unintentional consequence of posting something for sale on Facebook. When Facebook recognizes a post of something for sale, it enables a pesky sales format that looks like this:

Facebook sales post


Fortunately, this format is easy to turn off. Either way, if Facebook sees too many of these posts, which appear to be listings to them, they will restrict the account faster.


10. Abusing Facebook Messenger

Far too often, brands create a marketing strategy that abuses the power of automation. A “spray and pray” method will lose you way more customers than you will gain. It’s also a quick way to get put in Facebook Jail.

Instead, be thoughtful about the number of Messenger notifications you send out. Make sure your messaging is relevant, timely, and will intrigue your audience. Nobody wants to receive a whole bunch of messages about something uninteresting to them.


A guide to avoiding Facebook Jail

Infographic - A Guide to Avoiding Facebook Jail


The Takeaway

Social selling works the same way in-person sales works. People buy with others that they know, like, and trust over those that give frequent, unsolicited sales pitches. By making your social media efforts about valuable, entertaining, or personalized content, you have more ways to build familiarity with a holistic approach.

Follow these tips as well as Facebook’s terms and conditions to be recognized as a more professional and engaged business. As a plus, you’ll have more sales and less risk of winding up in Facebook Jail.

The best defense to staying out of jail is to be aware of and adhere to Facebook’s Community Standards. Spamming is the number one reason that accounts get suspended.

While technology has now made it possible to reach many people at once, social sellers must be intentional about growing their businesses holistically. Your success rests on the relationships you build with your customers, not how many promotions you can blast.

Your customers and Facebook's algorithm will reward you with screen time when you post engaging, relevant, and authentic content. Just make sure you do so carefully, and within the platform's guidelines, so you can continue serving your customers without any interruptions.


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