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Do you know what to do if your Facebook page vanishes?

Want to be ready when and if that day comes?

To share what happened when the Social Media Examiner Facebook page disappeared and how we handled it, keep reading.

More About This Show

The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

In this episode I am joined by Erik Fisher, community manager of Social Media Examiner.

Erik and I will explore what happened when our Facebook page disappeared.

You’ll discover what to do if the same thing happens to you.

podcast 174 eric fisher missing facebook page

Listen as Erik Fisher and Mike Stelzner share what happened when the Social Media Examiner Facebook page disappeared.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below.

Listen Now

You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher, SoundCloud or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

How Our Page Disappeared and What We Did About It

Finding out

On a late Sunday afternoon with my home filled with kids and cousins and my wife cooking dinner, I eased into the couch to watch a football game. Since I drained the battery playing with my new iPhone, it was charging in another room when a text message came at 4:12 PM: “We have a bit of an emergency. Our Facebook page is missing. You around?” I had missed the text.

The phone rang 12 minutes later, and my wife picked it up. Our community manager Erik Fisher was calling to tell me what happened. Between the time he texted me and when he called, Erik poked around Facebook and confirmed it. The Social Media Examiner Facebook page had disappeared.

And I mean it was really gone. I even received a notification that my personal profile was incomplete because it didn’t list where I worked.

gone image shutterstock 246473047

Our Facebook page had simply vanished. Image: Shutterstock.

I checked to see if I could view the page on mobile or on my laptop, if I could get into the admin side of the page and if the Facebook Fan widget appeared on our site. The answer for everything: no.

Listen to the show to learn why it’s important to instruct your team to call you in an emergency situation.

First thoughts

Initially, I thought we’d been hacked. Then I recalled how after I did the Chalene Johnson story we’d taken all the steps necessary to secure the accounts of all of our staff.

We secured email with 2-step authentication to our corporate Gmail accounts and we turned on Facebook Login Approvals. Plus, we recently completed a security audit of everyone on our team, and have a master document of who has administrative access to what. These are all steps you can take to secure your business accounts, and you can hear more about how to implement them in the podcast.

Listen to the show to hear our thoughts about “what if” the page was gone permanently.

First steps

After I got off the phone with Erik, everything around me faded into the background. Within minutes I posted the following to friends only:

Ok friends, our Social Media Examiner Facebook page has fully disappeared from existence? Anyone have any suggestions on what to do?

Posted by Michael Stelzner on Sunday, November 8, 2015

 

Initially, I decided to share it only to friends just in case there was something nefarious going on. Later on, I changed the status to public.

Here are some of the questions people asked me:

  • Did your admin accounts get compromised?
  • Are you spending enough to have a dedicated rep?
  • Any notifications from Facebook?
  • Are you accidentally unpublished?
  • Did you move it to the Business Manager?

The answer to all of these questions was “no.” I searched all over to find out how to submit my issue to Facebook. I reached out to my network and someone eventually told me about the Report Pages that Disappeared form.

reporting missing Facebook page

After searching for where to contact Facebook, I was finally able to report the missing page.

I also found where Facebook hides its support responses.

Listen to the show to discover what I determined I should have done at the beginning.

Reaching out to friends

I’ve been developing relationships with folks for years and I am fully aware that a lot of what happens next may not happen for everyone. However, my plan of attack could work for anyone.

I started using the comments of my original post to tag friends I knew to have contacts inside Facebook: Mari Smith, Dennis Yu, Dave Kerpen and Andrea Sodergren Vahl. I just said, “Thoughts?”

sos image shutterstock 271720664

I reached out to all of my friends. Image: Shutterstock.

Through Dennis and Dave I discovered that had I set up a Business Manager account, I could have granted access to someone who spends a lot on Facebook and they could have elevated the issue to their support managers.

Find out which account information I should have documented to help me resolve this issue faster.

Eventually, Dennis Yu reached out and made an email introduction for me. We received this reply on Monday:

“Good news is, the Page is still “there” – it hasn’t been deleted. But it looks like something is preventing it from being “published.” I’ve reached out the [sic] the Pages team to get an update. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s back up again.”

Since it was determined that our issue wasn’t the result of negative intent, I decided to make my original post public and many other people offered to help. In addition to Dennis and Dave, Lisa Mason, Carlos Gil, Derek Halpern, Heather Dopson, Mari Smith, Christian Karasiewicz, Sean Williams and Lori R Taylor also jumped in to assist.

Listen to the show to hear our strategy for getting our page back.

One day passes

A lot of people, like Ryan Deiss, reached out to say they’d experienced the same issue and it was resolved in about three hours. But we’d been without a Facebook page for a day and it had been 9 or 10 hours since we received the email from Facebook. I needed to find a way to take things to the next level.

I started posting about the issue in of all my Facebook groups, starting with the News Media and Publishing on Facebook group, which is moderated by Facebook. A rep connected me, and I finally had my first direct communication with Facebook.

sos image shutterstock 271720664

I posted multiple calls for assistance. Image: Shutterstock.

I posted regular “NO PROGRESS” updates on the comments of the initial post I’d made on my personal profile, and I asked everyone to share it.

Mari Smith decided to share my post to the 160,000 fans of her page. I also tagged super high-profile friends like Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble and Gary Vaynerchuk.

People were tagging and sharing it. Someone even tagged Mark Zuckerberg. More than 250 people shared that post.

run with it va

Run With It VA was one of many pages to share my post.

The response and support was overwhelming.

scorpion radio group

Like many other supporters, Scorpion Radio Group was surprised a large page like ours could disappear.

I also asked all of our staff to share the post on Twitter and Google+, and plead for help.

Listen to the show to discover why it’s important to join Facebook groups for your industry.

My plan for day two

If the issue wasn’t resolved by the second day, I was ready to buckle down and escalate my approach to the issue. To spur our wider audience to action, I planned to email our 425,000 email subscribers with an explanation.

He’s the email copy Derek Halpern suggested:

You might have heard about the big organic reach decline. We dealt with it. And we still updated our Facebook page a lot more times per day. And now, as of this past weekend, Facebook randomly deleted our page. Yep. They just DELETED the page. No warning. No message. Nothing.

Look, despite everyone who has ever complained, I still invested in my Facebook platform. I believe Facebook has a right to build a business. I happily promote my posts. But I do not think it’s fair that a publisher can lose their page without notice on a drop of a dime and not hear anything about it for 48 hours, despite several people I know reaching out to their personal contacts within Facebook.

Listen to the show to hear what hashtag someone suggested we try to get trending.

Morning of day two

On day two, I woke to an email from Juan Felix, who is on our team in Europe. The subject: “Received a call from Facebook.”

After Juan had submitted a request for help, Ana from the Global Marketing Solutions Team called his mobile phone to confirm that everything looked okay with our page and apologized for the late reply. She also sent Juan an email thanking him for reaching out and telling him to reply directly to her if we were still experiencing difficulties.

I asked Juan if Ana knew why the page was down, and he said she didn’t. She only said the page was back up. Following that, I received numerous messages from other folks at Facebook, saying the same thing. When I asked the first guy who contacted me what happened, this was the scary response:

“Your Page was not the only one affected. Not exactly sure what happened but it appears a back-end alert was triggered that caused your page and several others to go invisible temporarily.”

Once we were back up, Erik posted the following and we got a huge outpouring of love.

 

I shared Erik’s post with a note of my own.

Wow, about 36 hours later and after the help of literally hundreds of people, our Facebook page is back! …

Posted by Michael Stelzner on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

 

We had such a great response and lots of assistance in solving our Facebook problem, we told our friends and fans we’d share our experience in a podcast.

Listen to find out why the last post we made before everything disappeared was ironic.

Moving on

Should this happen to you, I suggest you remain calm, let the process play out, engage with folks, leverage the cumulative power of your networks everywhere and encourage your team to do the same.

Our frustrations with Facebook are ongoing. During this recording, our Facebook page disappeared again. There was very limited communication from anyone who could help, and zero communication about when and why it went down and so on.

UPDATE: After we finished the recording, I kept getting messages from people regarding the status of our page. I went to GeoPeeker.com and saw our Facebook page was visible in some parts of the world and not in others, which may have had something to do with the different servers. I was optimistic that the problem would be fixed again soon. (It was.)

Listen to the show to hear what we hope you learn from the podcast.

Other Show Mentions

social media marketing worldToday’s show is sponsored by Social Media Marketing World 2016.

If you want to connect with other social media marketers and want to have stronger connections with your peers, sign up for Social Media Marketing World 2016. It’s the world’s largest social media marketing conference. By attending, you’ll make connections with 100+ of the world’s top social media pros (plus 3,000 of your peers) and you’ll discover amazing ideas that’ll transform your social media marketing.

See what attendees experienced at our 2015 conference.

The event takes place in San Diego, California on April 17, 18 and 19, 2016.

Hundreds of people have already purchased their tickets and have committed to coming to this conference. If you’ve heard about Social Media Marketing World, and always wanted to go, visit SMMW16.com.

The networking is going to be off the hook. We have our opening-night party on an aircraft carrier, the USS Midway.

We have the best pricing you will ever find going on right now. Click here to check out the speakers and the agenda and grab your early bird discount.

Listen to the show!

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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What do you think? What are your thoughts on missing Facebook pages? Please leave your comments below.

Gone photo and SOS photos from Shutterstock.
social media marketing podcast 174 erik fisher

Erik Fisher talks with Michael Stelzner about missing Facebook pages.

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  • What an interesting story! It had me on the edge of my seat.

  • For such a big company, you sure have problems with third-parties. First it was Disqus a few weeks back now it’s Facebook. I wonder what screw-ups we’ll see in the coming weeks.

  • Hey Greg – It happens to a lot of people. It can happen to anyone.

  • Thanks Kelly!

  • Amardeep Kaushal

    My question is suppose my company page was created by an unknown employee who is no more with the firm and neither traceable too. Now want to get back the ownership of fb company page. Now what”s the solution for this?

  • Good question and I have no clue 🙂

  • Andre Beukes

    There is a lot of funny things happening in the digital world these days. Tweetadder , that used to be a pretty strong competitor in building a authentic niche in twitter with chosen keywords got taken down. Now it is #Tweepi that got taken down. The only thing that I really are upset about, is that Tweepi, took their subscription for the month before we found out that it is not likely to recover.

  • callenstewart

    This happened to me as well. As a single entity vs a large company, it’s more difficult to get the attention of Facebook personal support. I learned that other people COULD access my page, even though I could not. I have a secondary account that could access it, but it was not an Admin. In the end, it was back in a couple days. I immediately made my secondary account an admin as well in the hopes that I could avoid that in the future!

  • callenstewart

    Be sure that you have more than one admin!

  • Amardeep Kaushal

    Michael can you please put my question in open forum. Let’s see if we can get some clue on this.

  • Amardeep Kaushal

    Sir even we are not able to trace who was the administration then and now.

  • Katherine Jennings

    “Michael A. Stelzner” such a long post and all the way your panic story for days to overcome situation, but I am sorry I am still unable to find solution on this all except asuming that Facebook will cater those request from heave investors in their ads system and rest will lay down to rot until perish and vaporized. LoLz! our official page : “/PremierBPO”has been disappeared and no way to get it back. lodged an appeal, asked on help and submitted feedback as well with some reporting form….it looks like they have altered our page….its terrifying and its dangerous to rely on them as they can evaporate you in seconds …indeed all your efforts and work you have done with to build your brand.

  • It sounds like your advice is to have powerful, successful social media friends complain loudly. I think I would tap my network for connections at FB and lodge tickets at FB, but your connections are pretty unrealistic for the average brand/community manager and they aren’t ultimately what solved the problem, right?

    Facebook seems to have a customer service problem, but they are in the driver’s seat due to owning the audience.

  • Hey Luke – You said, “It sounds like your advice is to have powerful, successful social media friends complain loudly.” Actually that is not my advice. Did you catch the podcast?

  • Sorry to hear about your situation, I might listen to the interview and try out some of what I suggested.

  • Thanks for sharing your story Callen

  • That’s why FB created business manager and no doubt in a year from now at most, will make it mandatory to manage all pages through a business manager account.
    It doesn’t really matter who first created the page as long as you have admin access to it.
    As far as ownership of a FB page, no one OWNS their FB page and probably never will. All pages (as well as any content) become the sole property of FB as per their terms of service

  • Samantha Brook

    Thank you so much for this
    article. I run a small social media marketing business and a new client has
    come to me because their page has been deleted. It has been deleted because
    it’s a business page posing as a personal page. They have a business page as well.
    Facebook recommended that they merge the pages. However, when I followed the
    link it was to set up a business page rather merge with an existing one. It’s
    all very frustrating and I’ve been too embarrassed to ask for help because I
    run a social media company and I feel I should know what to do. This article is
    inspiring for two reasons 1) if it can happen to Social Media Examiner, it can
    happen to anyone and 2) it shows that it’s OK to ask for help. Thanks again!

  • Thanks for sharing your story Samantha

  • Katie Beckmann

    I am currently still experiencing this issue. It’s been extremely frustrating. Any advice?

  • Subodh Rkr

    I am happy that you got your page back

  • Suzette Bouwer

    Wow…more exciting than Game of Thrones! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • Hey Kate – Yes, follow the steps I outlined in the post / podcast 🙂

  • Thanks Suzette

  • Thanks Subodh, me too!

  • Subodh Rkr

    🙂

  • Xi Chen

    My college and I had the similar issue later last week, most of our Facebook page got block at same time. We realise the same thing happened, cause last year almost around same time we had same issued happened, but not as widely as this time。
    We know that all the pages will not came back, so we had no choice to change all our pages.

  • Jennifer Allwood

    Michael trying to find how to email you. My page became “unpublished” tonight because of a violation of terms…. except the notification didn’t say what I violated and I for the life of me cannot figure it out. I’ve appealed of course, but I have a great page of over 140K followers and need contacts with a FB account manager. Advice?

  • Hey Jennifer – Sorry to hear this. I cannot provide any advice outside of what is in the podcast

  • Riverbound

    This just happened to us last week. Unfortunately, we don’t have your contacts, so our page is still MIA. I just put up an ad, hoping to spread the word about our situation. When I checked it in Ad Manager, I see all my previous campaigns are still listed. I was surprised, as I figured that would have been wiped clean as well. Any thoughts?

  • Beyond the suggestions I outlined in the podcast / post, that’s I can know.