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Facebook bans digital marketing group for misleading users

Facebook has banned an entire digital marketing group in the Philippines for misleading and spamming users on the platform in a warning to marketers using social media.

The social media giant kicked Twinmark Media Enterprises and all of its subsidiaries off the platform last week, according to an official announcement.

Some 220 Facebook pages, which had attracted about 43 million followers in total, were removed from the network, in addition to 73 Facebook accounts. The largest page, Filipino Channel Online, had 10.4 million followers.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also removed 29 associated accounts from its network as part of the ban.

“This organisation has repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and spam policies — including through coordinated inauthentic behaviour, the use of fake accounts, leading people to ad farms, and selling access to Facebook Pages to artificially increase distribution and generate profit,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook.

Penalising bad behaviour

Facebook noted that the ban was based on the group’s behaviour rather than the type of content they were posting, highlighting its focus on how accounts and pages are managed behind the scenes.

Twinmark Media was initially found to have sold the admin rights to Facebook pages that it had created to boost distribution and generate profit for outside parties.

In another example, the group misled page followers by changing the names of particular pages that had developed large followings in a bid to change the page’s subject matter.

Last year, Facebook stepped up its policing efforts and removed hundreds of pages and accounts that broke its rules following the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.

What does the ban mean for marketers?

The ban serves as a cautionary tale for marketers, who increasingly depend on social media for their marketing strategies.

The main takeaway for marketing professionals is to remain authentic, not only to provide quality services for clients, but to also avoid reputational damage and harsh penalties like bans.

Additionally, marketers would be wise to brush up on Facebook’s community standards to make sure they comply with the rules, especially as Facebook commits to increasing its efforts.

“We will continue to invest heavily in safety and security in order to ensure that people can continue to trust the connections they make on Facebook,” said Gleicher.

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