I run social media for a small company that represents unions in the local area. Before, creating posts and Facebook ads have been easy. With the click of a few buttons, you could make sure your ad reached thousands of users for a small price. This was the model that we used for literally years, in order to get the message out. But since the story about Cambridge Analytica came out, what was once smooth sailing, became very choppy and frustrating waters to navigate.
Recently, we published a quarterly magazine about Unions, and the mid-term elections, and how they all relate. Each time we tried to advertise for the magazine, Facebook was automatically blacklisting the post with errors like. “Your account is not approved for political posts”
This came as quite the shocker, since all of our previous posts consisted of some minor political content, but nothing advertising for one party or another. In shorter terms, nothing with overt political tones. Yet, Facebook decided to put there foot down on one of our posts, and ever since, have applied the same amount of scrutiny to each of our posts.
Now, Facebook suggests that you should become “verified” in order to create posts with political content. This process if overly intrusive and somewhat disorientating to the average poster.
The process for becoming verified involves the following:
- You must upload your Driver’s Liscence: front and back
- You must enter the last 4 digits of your social security number
- You must verify your address ( more about this below )
So, the first and second item in the list are on par with most identity verification systems you see on the web. For example, to make deposits into Coinbase, the crypto currency trading site, you have to supply the same information.
But the last item to verify your address, is something that was never before encountered. Facebook’s process to make this happen included mailing you a letter via USPS, with a verification number. Once you had the hard copy of the letter, you had to go to https://www.facebook.com/id and plug in the verification code they sent you. One can’t say exactly what the purpose of this is, but one can pontificate that it has to do with making sure your address doesn’t reside in Russia.
So our latest issue of the magazine, when shared on Facebook, included the word ‘election’, in the open-graph/description area when you shared it to Facebook. Once the word ‘election’ was removed, we were free to post and promote cart blanche.
While I did verify my account, in the time waiting for my snail-mailed verification code, I changed the opengraph/description of the link, and everything was ok. So this overly intrusive process to be allowed to post “political content” is unnecessary, since it can be hacked with the simple removal of a word. Facebook is really dropping the ball with their attempt to keep congress at bay. Attempting to utilize artificial intelligence, instead of using man-hours to fix the problem, may be the downfall of the social media giant.
Just today, it was reported by cnbc.com that 50% of teen users have disabled their Facebook account. This is a staggering amount of individuals from the future generations deciding against Facebook, signalling what might be the total destruction of Facebook as we know it.