Facebook Creates Pages for Businesses Whether They Like It or Not
And they won’t take them down unless you send them a bunch of documents
Imagine watching the news and seeing a story spotlighting your business. Initially, you’re excited, but after watching for a few seconds, you realize that all the critical information, from your street address to the services you offer, is wrong. The ad keeps running, and when you ask the station to stop airing it, you’re told you have no right to even make that request. It sounds like an absurd situation, but something very similar has become common practice on Facebook.
Facebook auto-generates pages for businesses and organizations that don’t have an official presence on its platform. This happens without the knowledge or permission of the business or organization owner. This might sound useful, but a lot could go wrong — any Facebook user can make Facebook auto-generate a page for a business or an organization by purposefully entering critical information, like street address or services offered, incorrectly. This is all public and even appears when someone looks up a business on Google. The owner or manager of these entities has no control over the information Facebook displays on these auto-generated pages, despite the social media outlet’s frequent claims about its commitment to giving the user control over their data. If you want to gain control of the auto-generated page, Facebook puts you through an invasive and unwarranted verification process.
Take the case of Elena Olivo, a New York City-based photographer who does not have a Facebook account. Facebook refuses to take down a page auto-generated for her business. In addition to giving her no control over how her business is represented, the page is actually doing the opposite of what a social media presence is supposed to do for a business. Olivo told me, “I noticed in the lower-left corner of my unofficial page other photographers and businesses were being promoted, including those based near my New York City business. This is potentially driving traffic to my competitors. How can that be fair?”