So I’ve needed to write this blog for quite some time. This issue is facing many schools out there. Can you relate to this message from Matt?
I was hoping you could offer some advice and insight on School Facebook Pages. We eventually want to get all of our schools an official Facebook Page. My main question is about getting rid of or “claiming” unofficial pages (community pages that have been set up due to people checking in to the school). Facebook used to have an option that said “Is this your business?” and you could start the process of claiming that page. That option is not on the two pages I am trying to claim and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to go about that process. Do we just create official pages and promote those and hope these just go away?
Oh Matt, how I wish I had the perfect step-by-step process to resolve this problem.
I don’t, but I’ll do my best to give you (and many other schools) some guidance.
First off, you are making social media a priority at your school. That is AWESOME!
But these other pages on Facebook look like they are official. It is confusing for Facebook users. And it’s tough because you have no idea who created them, who is currently running them, etc.
Let’s break this down. There are basically two types of pages that I’m going to talk about today. You have to take very different strategies to attempt to remove or claim them.
- Facebook created an unofficial page
- Another person created a page that represents your school
So why would Facebook create a page for your school automatically? Well, because people on Facebook have shown an interest in your school by checking in. Some pages have the option to claim the page as your “business” – which in our case is our school.
If you do have the option – you will likely have to upload a utility bill. See the photos below. I tried just merging it with a verified page, but it did not allow me to select it.
If you are unable to claim the page, the best thing to do is to promote your official page. Make it easy to find on your school website. Mention the customized URL everywhere you can at your school. I think main entrance signs are awesome (here is a blog on that). And here is another blog offering 16 ways to promote social media.
Now, what if another person started a page that looks like an official page for the school? This requires a different approach. The first option is to ask around within your school to see if anyone knows who started it. Many times it could have been started by a teacher several years earlier. That teacher may or may not still be working at your school. Simply reach out and let them know that you now have an official page, and hopefully they’ll delete the page.
If you don’t have any luck finding out who it is, you have to do some detective work! If the page accepts messages on the page, you can reach out with a nice message like this:
Hello! I located this page when searching for our school on Facebook. We now have an official Facebook page run by our school. We are excited to celebrate our students in a safe and compliant way. We are curious on who runs this page, and whether you would consider closing it so that our community is not confused on which school page is official. Thanks in advance for your help!
If they do not accept messages, you may be able to post on the page itself with a similar message as I suggested above. Falsely representing your school, using your logo, and sharing photos of your students are serious considerations for people running an unofficial page. You don’t want to threaten those things right away, but you can consider sharing them if you don’t receive a response.
You can also report the page. Trying to report it as the use of your intellectual property is tough, but you can try and follow the prompts. Sometimes these pages do have inappropriate content on them, so you can report it as such.
Facebook does not have a 1-800 number that you can call. The final strategy that could help for both types of pages is to report a problem. You’ll have to walk through a series of instructions provided by Facebook, but you should be able to share your concern with them. I cannot guarantee that it will be fixed, but I have had some schools report success!
Good luck – and please comment below if you have had success in closing unofficial pages for your school. Your advice may help others!