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shizu
08-04-2018, 08:04 AM
Not sure if this is the right place for this question, but since it's happening in my attempts to promote myself/my books, I thought I'd start here.

Like the title suggests, I've been trying to set up a Facebook page for my pen-name. I have no other FB accounts, and never have.

My first attempt seemed to be going fine -- I set up the initial personal page, added my details, phone number, etc., and then proceeded to create a new business/brand page for my writing. A couple of days later, I was adding in a new cover image and profile picture, when I got a message that FB had detected suspicious activity and they wanted me to upload a photo of myself to verify. I'm guessing this was because I didn't upload a photo of myself as a profile picture? Anyway, I had no idea what a photo would do to verify anything, seeing as I've never uploaded a picture of myself on Facebook before, but I went ahead and did so anyway. A day later I tried signing in again, to be told the account was suspended.

Fastforward to today, a few days after the first attempt, I tried again. They wouldn't let me use my old email, so I created another one. Again the first part of the process went fine. Under advice, one of the first things I did was add an actual photo of myself despite really not feeling comfortable doing so (a nice combo of FB's security issues and my personal privacy concerns -- hence writing under a pen name). This time I don't think either of my pages lasted an hour before they were blocked. They've asked for the photo upload again, so I've sent the same photo I used for the profile, but I'm not holding out any hope that it'll work this time either.

I know many authors with pen-names have FB pages without any issue at all, so I'm wondering what's going on? My pen name isn't anything weird or outlandish, so I can't imagine that's the problem. Is it simply the fact that I'm doing everything too fast, and creating the author page immediately after the personal page is what makes FB think it's suspicious?

cool pop
08-05-2018, 01:30 AM
Something is off. Having a FB page with a pen name and without a pic of yourself is definitely not the reason you are getting suspended. Most authors run their pages under their pen names and without their pics. I don't know what to tell you but you need to contact FB. I know it's a pain but there is a way. Google and see exactly how to contact them about this. They are the only ones that can help you with this and perhaps tell you what's going on. Something seems up with your account though because it's being flagged for some reason. You shouldn't be having this many issues just to start a page.

Hope you get some help with this.

AW Admin
08-05-2018, 02:31 AM
Some resources:

Facebook's Authentic Identities policy (https://www.facebook.com/help/community/question/?id=10102030029701727)

Facebook and pennames (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=246156.0)

Facebook doesn't allow Pennames (https://storyempire.com/2018/02/19/authors-beware-facebook-doesnt-allow-pen-names/)

Honestly, given all the skininess of Facebook, if I were you, I'd concentrate on building your own Website first, and getting traffic to it.

Polenth
08-05-2018, 03:32 AM
My guess is the speed is what initially flagged you as suspicious. But once they realise you're not using your real name, that's it. Authors usually get away with pen name accounts simply because Facebook doesn't check the identity of everyone on the platform. Once you do something to make them look, that can be a problem. Wanting a photo uploaded is the mild end... they've demanded ID documents from people before.

Facebook isn't that great for promotion though. The more people who follow a page, the fewer of them will see any updates to the page. This is designed to get people to pay to boost posts. I post release updates to my page, but if I was started now, I wouldn't bother creating a page at all. If you're going to spend time with social media, try Twitter. It's an active platform, you don't need to pay to boost anything to be seen by followers, and you can use the name and profile picture of your choice.

shizu
08-05-2018, 07:07 AM
Something is off. Having a FB page with a pen name and without a pic of yourself is definitely not the reason you are getting suspended. Most authors run their pages under their pen names and without their pics. I don't know what to tell you but you need to contact FB. I know it's a pain but there is a way. Google and see exactly how to contact them about this. They are the only ones that can help you with this and perhaps tell you what's going on. Something seems up with your account though because it's being flagged for some reason. You shouldn't be having this many issues just to start a page.

Yeah, it's the sheer speed of it that baffles me. The first profile and page lasted all of two days, the second lasted about an hour. I'm not sure how they can judge in that amount of time whether I'm authentic or not. It's barely long enough to fill out my profile, let alone run a scam, or whatever they imagine I'm doing. Like I said, it's a normal, mundane name, nothing strange or obscure. It's obviously being flagged automatically by their algorithms for some reason, but I have no idea what. I downloaded what tiny amount of info they had for my account, and even simple things like my IP address were the same, so I honestly don't know what's immediately making them want to shut me down.


I've tried sending in an appeal, but I doubt anything will come from it.


Honestly, given all the skininess of Facebook, if I were you, I'd concentrate on building your own Website first, and getting traffic to it.


Facebook isn't that great for promotion though. The more people who follow a page, the fewer of them will see any updates to the page. This is designed to get people to pay to boost posts. I post release updates to my page, but if I was started now, I wouldn't bother creating a page at all. If you're going to spend time with social media, try Twitter. It's an active platform, you don't need to pay to boost anything to be seen by followers, and you can use the name and profile picture of your choice.


Ugh. The irony is I don't even want a FB page -- I detest the entire site and everything about it, that's why I've avoided it until now. I was advised by someone in marketing that I simply had to have one (yeah, I know), but frankly I don't know how much use I'd have made of it anyway and my dislike for the platform would probably have shown. I already have a blog, Twitter and website, plus my Goodreads author page etc. I'll stick to those, I think.

Thank you all for your help!

Al X.
08-05-2018, 07:53 PM
Maybe you didn't use the right type of business page? There is a specific type of author page that you should use.

WriterBN
08-05-2018, 10:41 PM
I have a Facebook author page for my real name (the one in my sig) but not for my pen names. It simply wasn't worth the bother. I use Twitter for my pen names, and not having a FB presence doesn't seem to have adversely affected sales. Of course, a lot of it depends where your readers hang out.

cool pop
08-06-2018, 01:16 AM
It could also be a glitch. FB is known for being glitchy.

Regarding FB promotion, Facebook can be great if you are in active book discussion groups with readers and interact. Those do very well. Authors also have their own reading/promo groups on FB that's sort of like a fan club. It's also wonderful for cross promotion. FB is full of genre-oriented groups where authors team up and do promos for each other. The cross promotion opportunities on FB are amazing. It's a hotbed of networking opportunities that will lead you to promotional events and options you wouldn't know if you weren't in some of the groups. You can connect with industry people like bloggers as well as journalists. I was just interviewed by a journalist there last week who found me in one of the groups. Her piece will be coming out soon. She writes for several of the major news outlets. With FB it is more than meets the eye if you know how to use it.

Also, besides a self-publishing forum I visit daily, I get all the hottest industry news from FB.

With any social media it's how you use it that makes it effective. FB is a goldmine for authors and books if you know how to properly promote. There are many readers who rely on book recs from FB alone. I get sales just from my PA posting my books on there. If you interact and do different things on there it can work especially for certain genres. Just having a page won't do much and with a page you have to spend money boosting posts now or no one will see them.

Anyway, it comes down to what people like. I hate Twitter for example. I just never did like it. To me Twitter is more distant and I network much better and reach more people on Facebook. I tried to get into Google+ several times but there is NO interaction there. Empty as a desert. Something about Instagram I don't care for. First off, I am not a phone person so I never had an account until recently when Google came out with their desktop Instragram app. I opened an account, popped on twice and haven't been there since. Some people swear by Instagram though but it doesn't hold my interest enough to even post there. Maybe that will change.

Back in the day, I was WAY more active on FB than I am now. Now, I pop into a few groups throughout the day to see if I am missing anything, check messages, check the groups I admin, and then go on about my business. I am too busy to hang around like I use to that's why I have a PA who takes care of everything else for me.

shizu
08-06-2018, 07:41 AM
Maybe you didn't use the right type of business page? There is a specific type of author page that you should use.

I had two options when I created a page, either a business/brand, or a public figure. As far as I know, "Author" is a option on both of them. I originally went with the business/brand option because the pen name technically is a brand, but I'm not sure if that was the right one.

I guess what I still don't really understand is why they shut down the accounts so quickly, when they were under a perfectly ordinary name, and I hadn't even done anything with the account yet. I dread the day when I decide to write under my real name, which I happen to share with a celebrity. Then again, FB will probably let me have that one without any issue!



I have a Facebook author page for my real name (the one in my sig) but not for my pen names. It simply wasn't worth the bother. I use Twitter for my pen names, and not having a FB presence doesn't seem to have adversely affected sales. Of course, a lot of it depends where your readers hang out.

From what I've been seeing while looking into this, including the links AW Admin provided above, you're definitely not alone when it comes to pen names, or in not seeing too much detriment by leaving/not having a FB for their writing in the first place.

I think my readers are quite evenly spread out between Twitter, FB, and Goodreads communities, so I don't think the FB page is the be-all, end-all. It's just a little frustrating, not knowing what flagged it up in the first place.



Anyway, it comes down to what people like. I hate Twitter for example. I just never did like it. To me Twitter is more distant and I network much better and reach more people on Facebook. I tried to get into Google+ several times but there is NO interaction there. Empty as a desert. Something about Instagram I don't care for. First off, I am not a phone person so I never had an account until recently when Google came out with their desktop Instragram app. I opened an account, popped on twice and haven't been there since. Some people swear by Instagram though but it doesn't hold my interest enough to even post there. Maybe that will change.

Yeah, all the advice I've seen on AW and from other writers is that if you're investing in social media, it's best to focus on whichever platform you actually enjoy engaging with, because that's going to be more sustainable. I'd be a very grudging FB user at best, so I doubt I could have used it to its full potential anyway.

I quite like Instagram (I have a personal I use regularly), I'm just not sure how to utilize an image based app for writing promotion.

chompers
08-06-2018, 10:25 AM
I guess what I still don't really understand is why they shut down the accounts so quickly, when they were under a perfectly ordinary name

It's not the name that's the problem. It's the fact that it's a pen name. FB doesn't allow pen names. Did you use your email address linked to your real name?

As an aside, FB pages aren't worth the hassle anymore. Nothing ever shows up anymore. And besides, even when it was popular, it seemed to be about the numbers game, as most people don't interact on it.

Al X.
08-06-2018, 06:40 PM
It's not the name that's the problem. It's the fact that it's a pen name. FB doesn't allow pen names. Did you use your email address linked to your real name?

As an aside, FB pages aren't worth the hassle anymore. Nothing ever shows up anymore. And besides, even when it was popular, it seemed to be about the numbers game, as most people don't interact on it.

But Facebook does in fact allow pen names for author pages, just not main accounts. Lots of authors, myself included, have them with no issues. I can't find anything in the Facebook TOS that says you can't use an alias for a managed author page.

veinglory
08-07-2018, 12:31 AM
As mentioned, Facebook does not allow pen names for profiles and it is not clear ot me if this was purely a Page under the creative professional category (in which case pen names are allowed).

But you probably would have got away with it either way if you did not -- as you seem to describe -- try to start a second account while your first one was under review. Never try and end-run social media account approval it makes them assume you are up to something. Always clear a stalled account before starting a new one.

cmhbob
08-07-2018, 01:52 AM
But Facebook does in fact allow pen names for author pages, just not main accounts. Lots of authors, myself included, have them with no issues. I can't find anything in the Facebook TOS that says you can't use an alias for a managed author page.

I think this is the biggest issue for writers. They don't realize that they can have mulitple Pages tied to a single Profile/account. You don't have to make any public connection between the Page and any of the Profiles who are running it (you do have multiple people connected to the Page, right? In case your account gets hosed?)

Al X.
08-07-2018, 03:08 AM
I think this is the biggest issue for writers. They don't realize that they can have mulitple Pages tied to a single Profile/account. You don't have to make any public connection between the Page and any of the Profiles who are running it (you do have multiple people connected to the Page, right? In case your account gets hosed?)

I do not. But, there is nobody off hand I can think of that I am will to give access to.

shizu
08-07-2018, 08:15 AM
It's not the name that's the problem. It's the fact that it's a pen name. FB doesn't allow pen names. Did you use your email address linked to your real name?

My email is under the same name as the profile, and the page. I signed up to make Jane Doe's profile from email address janedoe at some-email-company dot com, and then went on to create Jane Doe's author page from that profile. I don't know where in that short process FB went "Nope, Jane Doe isn't a real person!"

That's why I'm not sure the authenticity issue is what immediately flagged the account in the first place. All the ID stuff happened after the first account was originally suspended, when they asked me to submit a photo of myself (not a photo ID, to make that distinction, just a photo of my face) to verify my account. Afterwards it's very possible that Polenth is right, and something from that point on set alarm bells about the name.

I realize it's unlikely, but I'd sort of like to know what the original issue they had with my account was, just to prevent it happening again.



But you probably would have got away with it either way if you did not -- as you seem to describe -- try to start a second account while your first one was under review. Never try and end-run social media account approval it makes them assume you are up to something. Always clear a stalled account before starting a new one.

I only created the second account when the first account was disabled after they reviewed the photo I submitted. All the issues began prior to that first suspension though.

I'd have thought that creating a page under a different name to your personal profile would look even more suspect -- if that's the issue, then what's stopping me from making a new personal profile under a completely made-up new name, and then creating my pen-name's author page from that? It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. What happens to people whose writing name is their real name, or a close variant thereof? Does the fact that all their ID names (email, profile, page) are the same get them suspended too?



I think this is the biggest issue for writers. They don't realize that they can have mulitple Pages tied to a single Profile/account. You don't have to make any public connection between the Page and any of the Profiles who are running it (you do have multiple people connected to the Page, right? In case your account gets hosed?)

I had no FB profile at all prior to this, so that wasn't an option. I'd have had to create a first account regardless, and that's the thing that got initially flagged as suspicious, and I can't see any reason that wouldn't have happened no matter what name I used.


Anyway, today's update -- the first account appears to have been reinstated! I have no idea whether this was because of the appeal, because FB haven't told me a thing during any of this.

Of course, the first thing they did was lock me out (yet) again and ask me to input my phone number (yet) again, though at least this time they actually realized it was a valid number, so there's that. We'll see how long it lasts this time. Not getting my hopes up, lemme tell you.

cmhbob
08-07-2018, 07:55 PM
I do not. But, there is nobody off hand I can think of that I am will to give access to.

It doesn't necessarily have to be someone who is actually willing to run the page. I have my wife and daughter added to my Page (and I'm on my daughter's business Page as well). It's just another way for you to access the Page if your account gets blocked for some reason. Just make sure their security settings are good.