Brand Protection
7 mins

How to take down a Facebook page: protecting your online reputation on Facebook

How to take down a Facebook page: protecting your online reputation on Facebook
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    Even with all the newer social media networks and platforms, Facebook remains one of the largest social media platforms, with close to 3 billion monthly active users.

    Meaning for businesses who are looking to have an optimal online presence, Facebook is still a platform worth focusing their efforts on.

    Yet, while Facebook is definitely a great platform for building brand awareness, engaging with prospective customers, and promoting products/services, there are still many scammers and cyber criminals lurking on the platform, with the creation of fake profiles and business pages being the most common crimes happening on the platform.

    While Facebook has been really serious in cleaning its network from cybercriminals in recent years, unfortunately, it’s still not enough. Facebook still can’t detect and take down all fake pages and profiles on its own, and in many cases, it still relies on manual reporting by users.

    Wanting to maintain or improve your business’s online presence on Facebook but afraid these fake profiles will hinder your progress? This guide is for you.

    In this post, we will discuss how to report and take down a fake Facebook page and other tips you can use to protect your business’s reputation and improve your customers’ experience.

    Let us begin right away.

    Fake/duplicate facebook pages: malicious or not

    With billions of active users on Facebook, it’s only obvious that there are also billions, if not tens of billions of pages and profiles on the network. If you are an established or fairly well-known brand, it’s quite likely you’ll have some pages claiming to be your brand in one way or another.

    However, the vast majority of these fake or duplicate pages tend to be non-malicious in nature. In fact, there are four potential scenarios of your brand dealing with fake/duplicate pages, but only two of them are malicious in nature.

    They are:

    1. Impersonating your individual profile

    In this case, an external party (a malicious user) creates a Facebook account while duplicating your profile and content, intentionally impersonating yourself. They may use your profile picture and cover photos and create a page with a similar name to yours.

    What’s the purpose of the perpetrator here? In many cases, these perpetrators will send friend requests to your legitimate Page’s friends, and followers, typically by making excuses like your original page/profile was hacked, so you needed to create a new one. 

    This type of attack tends to target users that are not tech-savvy or older users (i.e., senior users) who tend to be less equipped to combat these online scammers.

    Once they’ve convinced your followers to follow this new Page, they either scam or phish these followers with various schemes they can monetize.

    2. Impersonating your business page

    This scenario is quite similar to the first one above but also has significant differences.

    Basically, the common technique used by scammers and hackers, in this case, is to create a new Facebook profile with a name and basic information. Once the profile is completed, they can then use the profile to create a new Facebook page, inviting the business’s legitimate clients and prospects.

    Typically this fake business page will use the information from the legitimate brand’s Page: confusingly similar page name, URL, images/photos, information, and so on. This way, the Page can confuse prospective followers that can’t tell which of the two pages is the real one.

    Then the perpetrator can use the Page to spread scams, phishing schemes, and other types of abuse.

    3. Claimed unowned Page

    Quite some time ago, Facebook had a feature called “location pages,” allowing users to “check-in” to these pages when they visited a business (i.e., a restaurant), similar to Foursquare, Yelp, and Tripadvisors, among others.

    Facebook allowed brands to claim their location pages and fill in the information themselves. However, over the years, Facebook decided to scrap this feature, essentially merging these location pages with brand pages.

    Yet, there is still a rare chance you may find a location page of your brand that is claimed by others (often without malicious intent,) and you may want to claim this Page as your own.

    4. Abandoned/defunct page

    Last but not least, in this type of scenario, there’s a Facebook Page that represents your brand, but it’s not yours and is inactive. 

    Probably someone tried to create a fake impersonation page but didn’t gain any traction, so they abandoned it. It’s also possible someone in your company (i.e., previous employees) created this Page on behalf of your brand and simply forgot about it. 

    Nevertheless, this Page is there but doesn’t do any damage to your brand at the moment. 

    If the Page still has some potential value, then you can try to gain ownership over the Page by contacting the Page’s owner (i.e., by posting directly on the Page or via Facebook Messenger.), and if you don’t get any response, you can file a complaint directly to Facebook (more on this later.)

    Or else, if the abandoned Page has no real value in it, then you can simply ignore it or try to claim the Page’s ownership and then delete it.

    Protecting your brand presence on facebook: getting verified

    With the number of cybercriminals all around the world and the massive size of Facebook, preventing thousands, if not millions, of bad actors from creating fake Pages impersonating your brand is obviously very difficult, if not impossible. 

    With that being said, it’s far more effective to tell your target audience which of these pages is your original one instead. There are ways you can increase your Page’s legitimacy, for example, by linking your website, Instagram account, or YouTube to the Facebook Page. However, the best approach here is to get your Facebook Business Page verified. 

    Once your Facebook Page has been verified by Facebook, you’ll get either a gray or blue tick next to the Page’s name that can be easily seen by others. This way, prospective followers can easily identify that your Page is the verified, real one.

    You’ll get a blue tick if you are a media company or government organization. Or else, if you are a local business or standard for-profit organization, you’ll get a gray tick.

    In the past, verifying your Page on Facebook tended to be a very challenging and time-consuming process, but it’s no longer the case at the moment. Yet, you’ll still need to prepare some basic requirements before you can apply for verification:

    • You’ll need to prove your identity, for example, by uploading your passport, ID card, or other valid identity verification documents. Make sure to use the same information (especially name, address, and phone number) as in your identity document to ensure quick approval.
    • Make an effort to build your business’s online presence online, so it seems authentic/genuine in the eyes of Google. For example, by regularly posting on major social media.
    • Your Page should have complete information (including photos), and you should publish some content on it, preferably regularly.

    Once you’re prepared, we can move on to the actual process of getting verified, and you can follow these simple steps:

    1. Open your Facebook web page or app, then go to ‘Security Center,’ then choose ‘Business Manager.”
    2. You’ll need to prove your identity. Upload the required document. You may also need to provide your business license or certification, depending on the type of business you are running and your location.
    3. Google will then send a postcard containing a PIN code to your registered address after a few days. Alternatively, you can also choose the option to get verified over the phone or via domain name verification.
    4. Open your Page, then go to ‘Settings’
    5. Go to the ‘General’ tab, then go to ‘Page Verification’, and choose ‘Verify’
    6. Fill in the required information and upload scans of your registration documents

    That’s it, and what’s left is to wait for Facebook’s approval. 

    How to find fake facebook pages impersonating your business

    One of the key reasons for Facebook’s popularity is its ease of use. However, this can be a double-edged sword since, for the sake of this ease of use, Facebook doesn’t ask users to verify whether they legitimately own a name (including brand name) when they create a Page.

    Meaning, that literally anyone can use your brand’s identity and start a Page with your brand’s name and information. 

    While Facebook may warn brands with established or well-known names when someone tries to create a Page using their name, most businesses (and probably yours) won’t get this luxury.

    This is why business owners should be proactive and regularly monitor whether someone is impersonating their business on Facebook. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can do it:

    1. Search your brand or product/service name on Google search (or other popular search engines), and check the Facebook pages that show up. If any pages that are not yours show up, review them.
    2. Go directly to Facebook, then use the search function to search for your brand name and product. Use the search filter function, choose “Pages” then review the results to check for fake pages.
    3. You can also use hashtags (for example, if your brand name is “myrestaurant”, then you can try searching for #myrestaurant. Also, try searching for variations of your brand name such as my-restaurant, myrestaurantt, and so on. Some bad actors tend to use wrong spellings in creating their fake Facebook pages to trick the brand and potential visitors.
    4. You can also use Google search and Google Images to search for your product and then manually review where your product’s photos (on Google Images) have been used on Facebook. This can be a great way to find hidden pages but can be time-consuming to perform.

    Reporting a fake profile or page

    Once you’ve identified the fake Page or profile impersonating your brand, the next step is to report these fake business Pages to Facebook so they can take action.

    Fortunately, nowadays, the process of reporting and taking down a Facebook Page or profile is very easy to do, and you can follow these steps:

    1. Open the Page or profile you’d like to report.
    2. Click on the three dots below the cover photo of the Page/profile
    3. Select ‘Find Support or Report Page’ if it’s a Business Page, or select “Find Support or Report Profile,” if you are reporting a standard profile
    4. Choose the reason why you’d like to report this Page or profile. Since you’re here to report fake/impersonating pages, then you can choose the ‘Scams and Fake Pages’ option. Alternatively, you can choose the ‘Intellectual Property’ option if the Page misuses your registered trademark (i.e., your logos.)
    5. Choose the next option, most likely ‘Pretending to be Another Business,” then follow the on-screen instructions

    If you currently don’t have a Facebook account but would like to report someone pretending to be you or your business, you can use this form and follow the on-screen instructions.

    Typically when filing your complaint, you are not required to provide any proof or documents. Facebook will use its internal algorithm to verify the disputed Page/profile’s information. However, there are cases when you may be required to provide proof of ownership to ensure you have the right to report this Page as a registered trademark owner.

    Facebook may need up to a week to review the complaint and will respond to your request. If the request is rejected, then you may want to consider providing more proof and file another complaint.

    What’s next 

    If maintaining a positive reputation on Facebook and other social media is important for your brand, then it’s crucial to regularly monitor the presence of fake Pages impersonating your brand, as well as other brand abuse attempts you may get on the platform.

    To maintain a positive online reputation, you should definitely consider establishing a comprehensive digital brand protection strategy to protect your brand’s integrity. In the long run, having a digital protection strategy can also help protect your business from potential legal repercussions and losses in money and resources.

    Investing in a brand protection software like Red Points can ensure potential infringements surrounding your Facebook Page and overall social media presence, and you can make sure your brand reputation is protected around the clock.

    social-media

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