Facebook Locked Me Out! And Here’s How You Can Avoid This

Facebook Locked Me Out! And Here’s How You Can Avoid This

As part of my job as a food marketer, I spend a lot of time on social media creating posts, responding to comments, and engaging with my audience and followers of several client accounts. So imagine my surprise when I tried to access my Instagram account on Halloween morning and discovered I was completely locked out! I had fallen victim to an unfortunate attention-grabbing technique used by the folks over at Meta.

Panic! (not really)

The warning stated that the account had been “flagged for abuse” and blocked by Instagram. The message said this could last up to 30 days, but I could file an appeal. Needless to say, I was pretty stressed out.

Crap! What do I do now? I had a full day of client meetings on tap, and I owe my coaching group an email and the link to the latest video. More importantly, I need to get back into my accounts before there’s an actual client emergency. So I took a deep breath, scrapped my plans for the day, and started troubleshooting.

How I ended up locked out

I quickly started trying to log out and log back into every account that I manage. Eventually, I found that the primary culprit was my VERY FIRST business profile, which dates back to the days before you could interact on Facebook as a human and as a business. It’s an old, wonky account that we used to manage the original Water Street profile.

Instead of being “flagged for abuse,” the real issue was that if you have ad buying power on just one account, Meta now requires two-factor identification on all accounts you manage. This old account never purchased ads, but because I buy ads elsewhere, every login needs extra security. It’s not a bad policy, but that abuse warning is a sneaky way to get us to take action.

Once I tracked down the problem, I set up two-factor authentication for every account I manage. I brought every profile up to secure standards before the FB algorithm started blocking them one by one.

Laugh it off and back to work

Even though the problem swallowed up about 4 hours of an already busy day, I just have to shake my head and move on. What else can I do? I’m a marketer giving marketing advice, and this was somewhat embarrassing. Honestly, this wasn’t the first time this food marketer had egg on her face -- I’m a human, so I make mistakes just like every other person on the planet.

The good news? It was only a few hours of work, and I caught it before it spiraled out of control. PLUS, I get to share my lessons learned with all of you! Here are my top tips from the experience:

  1. Check your profile settings for all of your social accounts. Make sure you are getting all the important notifications.
  2. Set up two-factor identification right now! I use my phone number. We used the Facebook 3rd party app at one point, but the timer always ran out before the person with the phone (me) could get the code for the person accessing the account.
  3. If someone else creates content for you, use a planning tool, like Later, for scheduling. Your assistant can log into Later without logging directly into your social accounts. There are loads more benefits to pre-planning, too!

I'd love to hear your spooky marketing tales. If you need help with your Facebook settings, or other marketing tools, feel free to reach to me. I offer a free half-hour consult to all newcomers, and existing clients and coaching group members can always grab a spot in my monthly office hours.