Have you just found out that your website has been banned by Facebook – without any warning? Especially if you depend heavily on social traffic, this can have heavy consequences for your business. This is not an unusual situation, and so I know the level of concern, frustration, helplessness and even fear that you may feel.
Note: this article deals with your website URL being banned from the platform, so users cannot share your website link or access it from within Facebook. This article does not deal with Facebook personal, business, or ad accounts being disabled.
How to know your website URL has been banned by Facebook?
When trying to post or share content from your website, you may come across any of the following error messages:
More worrying, when trying to click on any previously posted links to your website content, you (and any other Facebook user) would see the following error message:
Why was your website URL banned by Facebook?
In order to protect its users and the platform, Facebook has very strict rules (Community Standards) about what is and isn’t allowed. All website bans relate to this policy.
Genuine breach of Community Standards
Given that detailed awareness of the Community Standards is sometimes low, it may be that you have inadvertently breached the Community Standards.
Automated Facebook algorithms
Facebook relies on algorithms to police its platform. A common reason for a website URL being banned is because it was posted too many times in a promotional manner by the same person, leading to anti-spam algorithms kicking in.
From my experience, as competition on Facebook has risen, so has the malicious reporting of links. This is often done by competitors or their agents in a bid to take you off the platform and cause disruption to your business.
My 4-step approach to fixing this
1. Immediate damage control
Resolving the issue may take hours, days, or even weeks. In the meantime, immediately pause ALL ad campaigns with links to your website. This prevents those who click on your ads from being presented with the “You can’t go to this link from Facebook.” error message. Not only would you be wasting your ad budget, but you’ll also be hurting your brand’s image as it will seem fraudulent or spammy.
Do not publicly complain or advertise the fact that your website has been banned by Facebook. Again, this is unnecessary negative publicity, and does nothing to help you resolve the issue.
2. Compliance audit
Ensure that your website and the promotion of your website on Facebook are strictly compliant with the Facebook Community Standards. You have to not only read the standards, but also think broadly about how the standards would be interpreted by reviewers at Facebook. Conduct an internal review with your marketing staff, social media agency or consultancy.
Do not try to circumvent Facebook policy by using URL Shorteners, domain name changes, or other techniques.
3. Use report links to request whitelisting
There are 2 ways to do this:
- Access the Facebook Blocks page to request that Facebook whitelist it. This can be accessed by clicking on the “let us know” link if you see the following message
- Use the Facebook Sharing Debugger, and enter your website address. You can then click on the “let us know” link to request that Facebook whitelist your website.
4. Write to Facebook
If all else fails, your last resort is to write a letter to Facebook requesting that action be taken. You may want to do this with the support of a lawyer.
Write to the following address for Facebook’s corporate headquarters:
Facebook, Inc 1 Hacker Way Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA