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Will Facebook Authenticate “Nonprofit Organizations” or Shut It Down?

June 17, 2010

6/22/10 Update :: Good news! Facebook authenticated the Nonprofit Organizations Page on Friday, June 18. It only took one day:

[tweetmeme] 6/17/10: As soon as Facebook launched Community Pages, I knew this day coming. My gut told me the prompt for authentification would arrive at 10,000 fans, and indeed on June 14, 2010 when the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page hit 10,004 fans I received a “Facebook Warning” email from Facebook:


Our records indicate that you are currently the admin of a Facebook Page with a large number of fans, Nonprofit Organizations. To ensure a positive user experience, we require admins of large Pages to confirm their affiliation with the brand, business, person, or entity that their Page represents. Please use the following link to authenticate your Page.

You will also be able to authenticate your Page by viewing your Page and clicking on the “Authenticate Page” link below the “Edit Page” link.

If you are unable to authenticate your Page in the next three weeks, you may lose the ability to publish stories to your fans.

The Facebook Team

Just for your reference, here is the Authentification Form:

And here’s how the warning message appears on the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page:

According to Facebook, there are the three ways I can authenticate the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page. You only have to select one:

You must confirm this Page’s affiliation with the brand, company, person, or entity that it represents. Please take one of the following actions:

1. Link to your Facebook Page from your official website. Put a Facebook Badge on your website or blog. [Done – even though I think it looks messy! :)]

2. Add an email address to your account or another administrator to your Page who has an email address that is officially affiliated with your company or a company authorized to manage your brand (e.g. management company or PR firm). [My DIOSA Communications e-mail address is attached to the Page].

3. Add another admin to your Page who has an email address that is officially affiliated with the entity your Page represents. [Not an option. Don’t want to do this.]

If you are unable to authenticate your Page in the next three weeks, you may lose the ability to publish stories to your Fans.

Whether Facebook approves my authentification request really is going to come down to whether or not Facebook considers “Nonprofit Organizations” a brand, or a “cause or topic”. If it is the later, then the Status Updates of the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page will no longer show up in the News Feeds. I know this because I have spoken with a couple of Facebook Admins over the last six weeks who could not get their Pages authenticated, and thus lost the ability to publish Status Updates to the News Feeds. Their Pages were obviously causes [like Save the Whales], not brands. Most nonprofits should not have a problem at all getting authenticated if their Page is named after their organization’s name.

That said, I believe that 90% of the power of Facebook for brands is in the Status Updates because the Status Updates get News Feed exposure. If the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page can not get authenticated and loses the ability to publish Status Updates to the News Feeds, then essentially the Page will go dormant, be rendered useless.

I would argue that indeed “Nonprofit Organizations” is a brand that I started building on MySpace five years ago. There is also the Nonprofit Organizations MySpace, the Nonprofit Organizations Twitter profile, the Nonprofit Organizations YouTube Channel, and the Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations LinkedIn Group.

This is the risk of building communities on social networking sites over which we have no control. I must say I can’t even imagine MySpace, Twitter, YouTube or LinkedIn doing anything like this, but Facebook really does like their site to be clean, neat, and official. It has taken 2.5 years and lots of promotion (of Facebook to nonprofits) to reach those 10,004 fans. I am definitely not spamming my fans with useless content, and use the site to promote and help nonprofits and social causes. So I think how this plays out will be very telling. I submitted my authentification request and was told “Thanks, your inquiry has been forwarded to the Facebook Team.” All I can do now is wait. Of course, I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Related Webinar:
How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Use Facebook and Facebook Apps :: Advanced

19 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2010 7:20 am

    Should we start a “Save Nonprofit Organizations from being banished to the dungeons of FB” group, to help make your case? ;^)

    Seriously, this stinks. Especially the being in limbo, I’m sure. Thanks for keeping your peeps in the loop. Do let us know if you think your 10,004 fans can be of some assistance!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      June 17, 2010 7:44 am

      That’s very nice of you Jennifer. Thanks. No worries… I got a Plan B. 🙂

  2. June 17, 2010 10:06 am

    I hope you are successful—your content is useful to me in my dual role as an executive director and sometimes consultant to non-profits.

  3. Jeri Oien permalink
    June 17, 2010 10:13 am

    This is so frustrating. I love this page. I work in the non-profit world and I have learned all sorts of great things! In theory, the authentication requirement makes sense and I appreciate that they have standards that limit clutter. However, I am crossing my fingers that this isn’t “These ARE the Rules…Sorry!” approach to authenticating pages. There are some pages that don’t fit their criteria but are incredibly useful and valuable and interesting. These pages should be considered on a case by case and not through a semi-automated set of policies. I’m hoping you don’t have to go to plan B! I’m crossing my fingers that common sense and good judgement rule the day!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      June 17, 2010 10:46 am

      Thanks. I see the point too… Pages like “I bet this pickle can get more fans than Nickelback” aren’t exactly worthy of News Feed exposure, but yeah… I hope the bend the rules in this case too. Glad you find the Page useful. I have had the hardest time finding my “Facebook voice”!

  4. June 18, 2010 3:44 am

    facebook has snuffed me out quite a few times because I didn’t follow their ever changing format to the ‘T’

    How can they expect anyone to keep up with daily changes to their site?!

  5. June 19, 2010 10:57 am

    It would be really really cynical of one to suggest any shadow of a suspicion that Facebook might be trying to nudge folks to give blog/website real estate to their Fan Box and widgets, wouldn’t it?

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      June 22, 2010 1:41 pm

      No kidding! Tricky, tricky. Got authenticated, and the first thing I did was removed the badge. 🙂

      • June 22, 2010 6:26 pm

        Oh, very nice! Nothing there in the fine print to indicate that the badge needs to be permanent, right? 🙂

  6. June 19, 2010 4:19 pm

    I really appreciate all the hard work you have done with Nonprofit Orgs and I do hope that you will be able to keep your FB fan page. I may be preaching to the choir, but collecting NPO information and allowing accessibility to it in an organized, fast and easy to reach fashion has always been the real challenge and your work has allowed an opportunity to use social media tools to effectively communicate to NPOs. Sure we have blogs and publications, but for the first time, I feel like there is a portal where I can find NPO news and RT to help support their causes. Thanks for everything and please include me if there is anywhere I can help.

  7. June 20, 2010 12:37 am

    This is very interesting, thank you for posting this. Keep it up with the good work 😀

  8. July 8, 2010 1:34 pm

    Thank you for the post. I am interested in this issue. I recently discovered that our volunteer group, Arlington Community Volunteer Network has a “community page” that Facebook created. How do I get rid of it? We will never have 10,000 fans… we are a volunteer group of 500. We don’t even want a page on Facebook, we already have an active group of 500 members. I clicked the link that Facebook had on the community page to let them know about our official page on Facebook, but nothing happened. Any advice?

    Also, I work within county government … does County government have the same status as nonprofits when it comes to authentification?

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      July 9, 2010 4:19 am

      Hi Sharon… as of now, there is no way to delete the Community Page. As far suggesting the Official Page, that’s normal that nothing happens. We all just have wait to see what Facebook does next.

  9. July 28, 2010 8:47 am

    I have exactly the same with 2 pages ‘earthquakes’ and an Indonesian page with the same content. No discussion just STOP publishing. Both groups together have 27000 fans, i do not spam and distribute useful info on earthquakes to a global audience. And really, their conditions are so grey that i dont know what to do about it. GOD, HELP ME. They grabbed my money (several thousands of dollars) to create an audience. Now they shut me down.
    The second is a community page, and even the community page has been shut down. The 5 Indonesian hosts spending their free time informing their people are DISGUSTED with this Facebook policy.
    I am sure they meant it well in the management chambers, but the outcome is countryproductive.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      July 28, 2010 10:08 am

      Sorry. 😦 I am not a fan at all of Facebook the Company. I had a vibrant Facebook community too that now dead and overrun with trolls.

  10. November 29, 2010 7:39 pm

    I just found your Facebook Page (thankfully). And this post confirms my experience as a facebook user – you can’t trust them beyond the passing of the moon’s phases.

    Thanks and good luck

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      November 30, 2010 3:47 am

      I am not a fan. 🙂


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