A person in our Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook posted with a question about profiles versus pages on Facebook.
Their chamber has a “fake” profile (as do many other chambers and businesses) so that it can be “friends” with the chamber members to see what’s going on in the chamber members’ lives and to share things more freely. This clearly violates Facebook’s terms of service as humans have profiles and organizations have pages.
It’s a risky thing to build up a Facebook profile with hundreds or thousands of friends over the years and one day you come into the chamber and low and behold, it’s been deleted because it’s a “fake” profile. Facebook doesn’t care if you’re a chamber of commerce using the page to reach your members. You are violating their terms and they won’t warn you. As has been shared many times online, they’ll just take your page down.
Next Steps for Chambers with Facebook Profiles
The chamber really needs to start a page and then migrate over the people who are friends through chamber posts such as, “We are migrating people over to our new page.” It can even go through a process of converting that profile into a page but it doesn’t always work and you could lose everything.
The thing here to do is quit posting to the “illegal” profile page – okay, it’s not truly illegal it just violates the terms of service. Get a page going for the chamber and make the switch. If you still see value in “friending” members do so from the chamber staff person’s personal account. Be friends with your members without violating Facebook’s terms of service.
I have ranted about this before and here I go again: I don’t understand what is so hard about having real relationships with real people in your community as friends. If it creeps you out that they might be able to see some of your posts, here is some council. Don’t post things you don’t want other people to see because those things get out whether you want them to or not. Never post anything to Facebook that you wouldn’t want the general world to see even if you set the privacy settings high.
It’s so easy for things to get out.
Also, you do have privacy settings so you might as well use them. If you’re posting something like baby pictures (that you don’t think the general world would be interested in or are private family moments), share it with your list of family members or whomever you specifically want to see it. The posting does not have to be visible to every one of your friends and acquaintances.
Just to reiterate: don’t create a fake profile and build up that huge asset for the chamber to find that it’s gone overnight. There’s no reason to risk it.
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