There is a disconnect between Facebook rules and practice with regard to administration – what should business owners do?
Here is the issue: most business owners are too busy to set up and maintain their Facebook pages. They typically assign this as a marketing function – so an admin assistant sets up the page via their personal Facebook account.
And off they go, building their community. All good, right?
Hmmm – maybe not,and keeping your head in the sand won’t help.
Here is the issue – Facebook rules state that the owner of a business page is the original individual who set up the page. The rules also state that the original page admin reserves the right to add and remove other admins at their discretion.
The business page is associated with whomever (the individual) who set up the account. Here are some sections from the Facebook rules;
“Only the official representative of an organization, business, celebrity, or band may create a Facebook Page. The Page creator can then add other representatives to help them manage the Page. Each Page admin will be able to update and edit their Pages from their own accounts.”
“The Page Admin who initially creates the Page reserves the right to add or remove other Page Admins at their discretion.”
Yet we know that in practice, an admin can remove other admins – this was a change to make page administration easier. Though there is no hierarchy or method to assign different rights to different admins. Someone who can post has the same rights as someone who installs applications on the backend. Err – um – doesn’t this means that a disgruntled employee or contractor could remove you, the business owner, as admin and you lose control of your page and your business asset?
Regardless of Facebook’s own rules, being able to remove admins seems to make sense because people change jobs and you don’t want to have your former admin assistant who moved on to the competition still have access to your Facebook page. However, the concept of a primary administrator who can assign admin activities and levels of access seems to have escaped Facebook.
The risk is in the fact that there is a disconnect between what is in the rules and what is in practice. That means when something changes – someone is going to be caught short. If Facebook ever decides to enforce its own rules – there could be a mass of business pages that are owned by the administrative assistants who set them up? What if that original person decides to commit digital suicide (removes their individual Facebook account) – theoretically, and heaven help us, the business could lose their business page?
On testing, as of today – if the original page owner deletes their personal account (facebook suicide) – the page still stays up. Though about that testing – we know that it take 14 days for an account to be completely removed so I advise caution on this ad-hoc trial!
What to do
Don’t panic. The risk if pretty low if you are being prudent and your employees are happy. I expect Facebook will launch hierarchical administration eventually.
If they don’t, here are a few tips;
If you do not have a business page and want to set one up – do so under your own Facebook profile. This meets the current rules though won’t help you if you have a rogue admin. And it is just good practice so you know what to do and how to do it.
If you already have a Facebook page for your business – ensure you have written policies that make it clear who owns the page. Again – this is just good practice.
Assign one person with written responsibility to manage the administration of the account. And make sure they know that you as the business owner are the owner of the page. Put it in writing.
Actively manage your admins! Know who is an admin and why. If you are using third parties to do your facebook ads and manage your applications – that is ok – admins will come and go. Just make sure they eventually go.
Test out different security applications like Mediafeedia. I am testing it on some dummy pages and will advise when I have more to say! Ideally though – life would be a lot simpler if the hierarchy rights were given through the Facebook admin panel.
To delete an admin, just go to “Edit Page” on the right hand side of the page and then scroll down to the “Manage Admins” area on the left.
Keep abreast of the every changing rules and features.
If I missed any tips – please add in comments below!
Is the admin function on Facebook a flaw or a feature? It depends on your perspective though facing it is the best approach. The reality is that Facebook has become an important part of building your web presence –and Facebook is a third party site. They can and will change the rules as they like.
Here is a great article on Mashable that discusses the issue further and has informative comments.
Mashable article on Facebook admin hi-jack
Terry Rachwalski is a Victoria, BC based management consultant who tries all the latest social media applications and software just for curiosity and save her clients the pain of having to do it themselves. She has always focused on consulting for technology firms and recently partnered with The Tartan Group to provide digital services consulting to tourism and hospitality clients.