Can you recover your business Facebook Page?

Recently I found an unusual email in my inbox. As a small Brisbane-based social media agency, an email from a business owner in Florida, USA stands out. But while the location of my client was unusual, his problem was all too familiar.

The gentleman was reaching out because he had lost access to a Facebook Profile, which was the only way to log in to his business’ Facebook Page. Unfortunately recovering access to a business page can be very difficult - and you can expect no help from Facebook.

It’s very easy to accidentally lose access to your Facebook Page. The most common reason is a former staff member set up the account and has since left the business, taking access with them. Sometimes it’s a case of a forgotten email or password. But the biggest risk is if a fake or secondary profile has been shut down by Facebook.

In this case, the business had a Facebook Page and a Profile in the business’ name. This is a common practice among many businesses, politicians and groups because it gives you a secure way to share log in details with employees without having to add their personal profiles to your page.

The practice of setting up fake or secondary accounts has long been against Facebook's Terms of Use, but in the past it was easy to get away with it. Now, not so much. If Facebook flags your account as a fake it can be locked down cutting you off from your business page.

 
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What can you do?

Your best hope of recovering access to your business Facebook Page is to recover the Facebook Profile attached to it. If you can’t remember the log in details of the fake account it is possible to regain access if you know or can guess the email address that was used to create the profile - particularly if you still have access to that email address. 

How to recover a profile
Step 1: Make sure you are logged out of Facebook on your computer (and make sure you know your password to log back in first!)

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Step 2: Click on the Forgotten account link that appears under the space where you enter your details to log in.

Step 3: Try entering your past email addresses or a phone number that you attached to your Profile. 

Step 4: If you find the correct account, click on the continue button and Facebook will send you an email with a code so you can log in to your Facebook Profile. 

If your account has been disabled because Facebook thinks it’s a fake, you will be required to provide information or make changes to verify your account. This could include:

  • A new Profile Photo - You will be required to upload a clear photo of your face and Facebook will check it against other photos to ensure it’s not a duplicate. This is a difficult way to get your account verified.

  • Change Your Name - This option forces you to change the name of your profile, and may also require you to then verify it with an ID.

  • Upload your ID - If you have an unusual name, Facebook may require you to verify it by sending them ID.

  • Identify your friends - This is the simplest way to regain access to your account. You will be asked to identify your friends based on their pictures. However this option isn’t always offered and it is difficult if your fake account doesn’t have many friends.

  • Verify with a phone number - Sometimes Facebook will ask you to verify your account by adding a phone number. You will then receive a call or text with a code to enter into Facebook.


Of course, you will have a problem with some of these steps if you don’t have an identify to verify. If your account is a business, not a person, or you don’t have many friends to recognise, or a profile photo to share you may be stuck. Your best bet is to try to change the account into a personal profile for yourself - and then try and get it verified so you can regain access to your Page.

There is a way to appeal Facebook’s decision to disable your account. However, this leads to an online form that requires you to enter your name and your ID. In true Facebook form, this doesn’t include any fields to explain your situation or appeal for common sense.

Add another administrator to your account

If you are lucky, you may be able to gain access to your profile. If so go straight to your Facebook Page and add a new administrator. 

How to add an Admin
The easiest way to add an administrator is to be Facebook friends with them, or for them to like the page. 
You can then go to: Settings > Page Roles > Assign a new Page role  Then type in their name.

Facebook says you can type in an email, but this option is often glitchy and rarely works. After selecting their name, then change their role from the default, Editor to Admin. You can change it later but it is very important that you have at least one administrator for your page that is not a fake account.

Once their Facebook Profile is selected and they have Admin level, click Add. You will then be prompted to enter your password. This is the password for the profile you are logged in as to access the page. 

Once you have done this, you should be able to log back in to Facebook as yourself and have admin access to the Page. 


The best cure is prevention

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Unfortunately Facebook is incredibly unsympathetic and unsupportive when it comes to businesses who have lost access to their page. If you aren’t able to resurrect a profile or track down that employee with access, chances are you have lost the page for good.

If your page has been badly neglected and isn’t well established, your best bet may be to set up a new page. But if you have dedicated many hours to creating content and building an audience, then you really, really can’t afford to lose access to your account.

Always follow these rules when it comes to your business’ Facebook Page.

  • The owner, or a trusted senior person in the company, must have full administration access. Even if they never use it, this is a safe guard against losing the account.

  • Have more than one real account as an admin on the account. If one account is lost, disabled or hacked, you still have another person who can recover your account.

  • Only add trusted staff as administrators. If they don’t absolutely require this level of access, make them an editor.

  • Require any staff’s Facebook accounts that have administrator access to have two-step verification on their account.

  • If you have to add multiple staff or staff regularly change, consider using Facebook Business Manager to allocate and approve Page Roles.

  • Stop using a fake or secondary Facebook Profile as your only access to your Facebook Page.