Is Facebook anti-social?

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I come across many odd and interesting things during the course of my day working with Social Media.  One of those odd things is the way that Facebook handles business fan pages.

We all know that a Facebook fan page is almost obligatory these days, but, from a marketing perspective, is it really worth all the effort? Before you recoil in horror at the blasphemy – consider this:

Facebook now allows a purely business fan page which is not linked to a personal profile. That’s good news, right?  Now employees (and consultants like me) don’t have to be shackled to an employer’s or client’s business fan page.  Makes total sense.

That is, until you go and set up a business fan page. First thing you notice is that there is no way to add or invite friends.  None.  Nada.  Nothing at all. Hmmm…. maybe I missed something?  I already know that Facebook admin is not exactly logical and even importing a blog feed is more complex than it is for any other social venue.  But surely… there HAS to be a way to add or invite fans?  After all, what good is a fan page if you can’t invite fans to join it?

But, no, it turns out that Facebook doesn’t allow business pages to add applications, or other basic functionality such as a friend inviting device.

Why?  Good question. One that after extensive searching I, together with hundred’s of other frustrated Facebook users simply cannot find an answer.  I found one thread in the Help Center  http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=10381469571&topic=4641#topic_top where there are numerous complaints from over a year ago – all unanswered – on the subject.

The speculation is that Facebook would rather charge businesses for ads to promote their pages than provide the ability to organically add friends.

In addition, the ‘Help’ Center advises: “You will not, however, be able to view the profile information of any other users or add any other applications to your account. For example, business accounts can’t be used to add friends, send messages, or interact with other Pages. Your account will not be visible in search and other users on the site will not be able to find you and add you as a friend.”  Don’t believe me?  Check it out for yourself: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/help/?search=business%20fan%20page

Interesting, huh?  So, Facebook, the ultimate social media venue is not exactly social when it comes to the way they treat businesses. Begs the question, ‘Why have a business Facebook fan page that no one can find when they search and no one can friend if they get lucky enough to find it?’

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Facebook is useless for business, I will not be spending too much time working with it either – until they change their policies regarding this issue.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re an employee or consultant (like me) get this:  you don’t HAVE to create a personal profile to set up a business page, BUT

  1. you can create a business page no problem
  2. you cannot have more than 1 account on Facebook
  3. business pages also ‘lure’ you to fill in all your personal details in the settings etc as these are the only options available to customize once you actually set up the page so you have to be darn careful not to do this because it creates another profile which you cannot delete
  4. if they find you have more than 1 account they can ban you from Facebook and shut down all your accounts
  5. however, they want you to create a personal profile for the business page
  6. go back to #2…


So here’s the thing:

  • if you do not want to have your business fan page linked to your personal profile for obvious reasons
  • then you do not want to fill in your personal details on the  business page
  • if you already set up a business page via your personal profile, it would probably be a very good idea to delete the business page created on your personal profile so that you don’t have any trouble in the future if they connect the one on your personal profile with the new business page you’ve set up…
  • Tip: To delete your Page, please click on “Edit Page” and then on “Delete Page” at the top of the page.

Is it really worth all the trouble, just so that you can not be able to add friends or have them join your page?

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