The Legend of Facebook Jail: Fact or Fiction

Monday, 14 August 2017, by Rian Bailey-Weir

Once but a myth used to terrify the new social media executives into behaving themselves, the legend of the Facebook Jail is known far and wide. Few have dared to write about its power, but we take a look at what, why, and how you can land yourself in Facebook Jail, and what to do to avoid its mighty grasp.


What is Facebook Jail?

Being sent to ‘Facebook Jail’ is the term used to describe the process of an account being suspended temporarily or permanently when they have violated Facebook’s broad guidelines. It’s part of a semi-automated system that Facebook relies upon to filter any inappropriate content from their users’ timelines. Facebook also works with users to encourage them to report any accounts that may be breaking any of their guidelines.

There are two types of blocks that Facebook applies to an account that has broken the Facebook guidelines – permanent and temporary. As expected, one is for more severe examples of Facebook rule breaking (primarily to tackle spammers and hackers), and the other is used as a general warning to those who may have broken Facebook rules by accident.


How can you be sent to Facebook Jail?

The legend goes, if you break the rules of Facebook, you get sent straight to Facebook Jail. We know what you’re thinking; who actually has time to read all of the Facebook guidelines? But, did you know that three of the most popular entry requirements for Facebook competitions could get your account suspended?

Section E.3 of the Facebook promotion guidelines states that: “promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (e.g. "share on your Timeline to enter" or "share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries" and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted)”. This specific guideline means that asking your followers to like a page, share the status, and tag their friends is a complete no-go if you want to avoid having your account suspended.

Of course, there are many other reasons that your account can be suspended – posting indecent images, spamming and sharing scam content, to name a few.


How strict is Facebook when enforcing its guidelines?

The main aim of the Facebook guidelines is to ensure that every user can express themselves in a safe and fair environment without being bombarded by a barrage of unwanted posts but it’s not in Facebook’s best interests to be hostile towards businesses.

With over 65 million business pages, Facebook’s advertising platform is a primary source of income for the social media giant; it’d be pretty pointless for them to suspend profitable accounts for very minor issues.

Obviously, there will be those who purposefully post inappropriate content on their pages and set out to harm other users and these are the people that Facebook works to be aware of, so that they can then deal with them appropriately.


What should you do to avoid Facebook Jail?

Avoiding Facebook Jail is easy – don’t break the rules. While you may be wondering the point of following the Facebook guidelines when you constantly see businesses breaking them, it’s always best to do what you think is right, and follow the rules. It would leave a sour feeling to build a Facebook following for it to then be taken away for a competition that wasn’t set up quite correctly. Maybe spend a little time going through the Facebook guidelines, familiarising yourself with the parts that apply to you and your business, and making sure you stick to them.


If you feel that you need a little helping hand, we’re happy to provide you with some social media guidance. Our social media team loves all things to do with Facebook, so just give us a quick call on 0151 706 9966 or email

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