Does your Facebook Page have Rules or is it a free-for-all?
A Facebook Page is an excellent venue for a variety of current and potential customer engagement and activity, and most people who ‘Like’ a Page use it accordingly. However, every Facebook Page is a potential target for the irrational or angry person who ‘Likes’ the Facebook Page for the purpose of leaving a barrage of negative or abusive comments.
While an occasional negative comment is standard fare for most businesses and somewhat unavoidable, someone who sets out to leave negative feedback repetitively on the Page or comments negatively towards the brand on every comment (thereby hijacking the comment thread) is acting abusively. A Facebook Page attack should not be–and does not need to be–tolerated. Organizations (via the page admins) have the right to remove the comments and permanently ban the abuser from its Page. Having a set of House Rules or Community Guidelines that are clearly stated will not prevent such a tirade, but will help set expectations for the consequences of this type of behavior.
Tips for Creating Facebook House Rules or Community Guidelines:
Where to Post your Rules:
Your Guidelines or Rules can live on a dedicated tab or App (as Facebook refers to them now). If you don’t have the room to dedicate an entire App to your House Rules, you can publish them on your website under a sub-domain and include a paragraph with link to the rules on your existing Facebook Apps. Some industrious Page owners use the Facebook Notes application (inherent in every Facebook Page) to post the Community Guidelines. With Facebook Notes, you do not have the option of changing the name to call out the House Rules. Although not as pretty, it gets the job done in a pinch.
State the Page’s Purpose:
Clearly state the purpose of your Facebook Page… you can include verbiage stating that the Page is set up for communication and interaction between Fans and the Brand and that abusive or offensive comments or language will not be tolerated and will be removed.
Provide Contact Information:
By providing a phone number and/or email address, you are giving the potentially abusive person a venue to be heard offline…the ideal.
Snippets of Facebook Community Guidelines:
This is your Fan Page and we encourage you to leave comments, photos, videos, and links here. However, we will review all comments and will remove any that are inappropriate or offensive. We will leave what you share that relates to the subjects covered on this Page. Please understand that comments posted to this Page do not represent the opinions of The Coca-Cola Company.
Amazon.com’s Facebook Page has a “Community Rules” tab:
Welcome to Amazon.com’s Facebook Community. We invite you to communicate with Amazon and other customers to share your thoughts, insights, and views about Amazon.com and products available on Amazon.com. If you have customer service questions, we invite you to visit our Help Community on Amazon.com.
BBC World News welcomes honest, friendly and open conversation on our Facebook page, however we reserve the right to remove comments or discussion posts which stop this happening.
People who are continually detrimental to others’ enjoyment of this page risk being permanently removed as fans.
Delta Dental of Michigan’s Social Media Policy
Delta Dental of Michigan wants to promote a friendly, informative and enjoyable online experience for members of the Facebook community. Therefore, content and comments containing any of the following are not allowed for posting on our page and will be removed as soon as possible:
Mondial Assistance Facebook Community Guidelines:
This is your Fan Page and we encourage you to leave comments, photos, videos, and links here.
It is fantastic to observe an increase in enquiries from customers on our Facebook page seeking help to buy products, requesting information about existing policies and updates on pending claims.
While it is great that customers are reaching out to us in this way, please be aware that assistance via a very public channel such as Facebook can only go so far.
Please also be aware that our Facebook page is not a replacement for our standard customer service channels in each country and our Facebook page is not monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hence, if your matter is urgent, please contact us via the methods listed in your policy confirmation document or terms & conditions documentation and not via Facebook.
What are your thoughts on creating effective Facebook House Rules? Please share any good examples of Guidelines that you’ve come across.