Facebook is notorious for making changes to business pages with notifications that are easy to miss. For instance, have you ever checked your business’ Facebook page and noticed a small pop-up at the top of the page and the next time you login it’s not there? Those small pop-ups are actually there to alert you of new changes, usually major ones. That’s how the new Transparency Policy rolled out. A simple box on the top of a page. And this simple notification is what also led me to doing a deep dive on changes that could affect the way you advertise and boost posts through Facebook.
What is the Transparency Policy?
Simply put, the transparency policy Facebook recently enacted helps verify business pages and protects page visitors by providing them with useful information about the business page they are engaging with. Ultimately, this information allows the user to confirm that they are in fact engaging with a verified company and not someone just pretending to be them. The information provided to visitors includes:
- Confirmed Owner – This allows the page visitor to confirm that they are in fact engaging with who they thought they were engaging with. Not just someone pretending to be that brand or company. Since this information has to match tax information and legal documentation, this is a full-proof way for visitors to ensure they are not interacting with a troll or fake account.
- Page History – It's exactly what it sounds like, the page's history. It allows visitors to see any major changes to the page name, etc. over the course of the pages existence. Why is this helpful? Well, if you were wanting to interact with ABC Company and you go to their page and notice their name is now CBA Company you might start wondering if they've been hacked. This eliminates that wonder. Again, it allows visitors to ensure they are in fact interacting with a legitimate brand/company.
- People who manage the page – Let me put your mind at ease. If you are a business admin of your companies page, it is NOT showing your name. This will only show the locations of your page admins to allow visitors to know that there are in fact real people behind the page, not robots.
- Organizations that manage the page – In other words, agencies that manage your page. This is giving visitors transparency into whether you manage your page or an outside organization does so they know exactly who they're corresponding with.
To have this information listed you must go through the Business Verification process through you business manager. And yes, we have a step-by-step guide for this to eliminate any of the confusion around how to become verified.
Once your verification process gets approved by Facebook, you will need to check to see if your page has a Page Transparency setting in which you would need to comply (also detailed out in our step-by-step guide). Not all pages as of yet have the Page Transparency Tab, but all pages have access to become verified.
Now, after that brain dump of information you might be wondering what happens if you don’t comply with this new rule. Well, your guess is as good as ours. Facebook has remained quiet about the repercussions of non-compliance but you can be sure we are still researching and will update this post as soon as we know.
How you're affected
The first wave of this policy (yes, this is a couple month change) that went into effect as of February 8, 2020 (nice job making it a Saturday, Facebook) hits news companies, political candidates, companies that utilize special ad categories and fall under special issues. If you fall into any of these categories and have been having issues with your ads or boosted posts getting rejected this past week then this change is directly hitting you. Reason is, your page is unverified and in Facebook’s eyes, you don’t ‘own’ your page.
The second wave of this policy rolls out in spring of 2020. Facebook wants all businesses or pages on their site to go through this process. This is not unreasonable because, at the end of the day, it does protect Facebook users.
If your like me, you might be wondering why Facebook has decided that now is the right time for such a policy.
First, social media as a whole is not highly regulated. Social media sites are not considered news outlets nor do they strictly fit in an advertising category. They fall into this grey area that includes news, advertising, but also personal information that people are freely sharing.
New policies create a form of self-regulation. Due to the complexity of social media and the category they fall into for regulation, it’s easier for companies to create policies on their own before an outside agency has the opportunity to create a rule of law that they may not fully understand or comply with.
The second reason is related to the increase of fake personal and business accounts that spread inflammatory and misinformed posts and the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal. These two aspects have hurt Facebook’s image in regards to trust. With high scrutiny of Facebook during an election year, they, as a company, are doing their due diligence to make their social site more transparent and to verify the authenticity of businesses and their associated pages.
If you don’t work in Facebook every day then this process may seem like a herculean task to undertake. Fortunately, we have created a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process of verifying your business manager and complying with the full Transparency Policy.
Whether this is affecting you now or will in the next few months, we recommend taking the proactive step to be prepared for these new changes.