Some people say about Marmite that you either love it or hate it. But what about Facebook?
Apparently, advertisers love Facebook. It’s a billion-dollar heaven for networkers and a marketplace for everyone who wants to cash in. Not only businesses, but politicians, government offices, schools, you name it, they are there. The fact that one person owns it all and makes all the rules does not seem to perturb anyone’s conscience and people continue using it.
However, unlike Marmite, Facebook can not make an appeal to wholesomeness for nurturing us. As a small social enterprise we decided not to ‘do’ Facebook after our experience with their Customer Services. It seemed to us that Facebook only responded to paying advertisers’ queries. They did not respond to any of our messages asking for assistance.
We then took our case to the Better Business Bureau thinking that Facebook would hear about the difficulty, if they hadn’t already done so, and find a positive way to resolve it. But, as you might have guessed if you’ve had any dealings with the ‘BBB’, one of their emails went straight into our spam folder and we missed the due date for our right of reply.
Facebook is not a Better Business Bureau accredited business, but still it may be noteworthy that their Customer Reviews on the 'BBB' site give Facebook only one star out of five stars. As of today, there were a total of 10,780 complaints against Facebook filed with the BBB in the last three years.
Our complaint was filed in the winter of 2018. Better Business Bureau’s rating of Facebook is now A-. The minus rating is due to “government action(s) against the business”. A note on the BBB website explains that Facebook was ordered to pay a penalty of $5 billion dollars in July 2019.
By the way, BBB should not come across as the ‘Big Business Bureau’, although that’s how their rules and processes may make them look: on the side of big business rather than small social enterprises, non-profits or consumers. The BBB give a handful of days to respond to their messages and then close a case willy-nilly. And even when they do respond, they are selective on the issues that they are willing to take on.
Talk Together London volunteers had a page on Facebook back in the day when community organisations could have pages without personal accounts. And then Facebook changed the rules and at the time organisations like ours were not made aware of the changes. Instead they were 'encouraged' to give up their community pages.
We were seeing harmless looking little notices asking “Who’s on your team?” every time we logged in to Facebook. We thought it was just curiosity on their part. But, on beknown to us, Facebook had created another page for our organisation and even duplicated our logo there. Their page for our organisation listed us as a ‘Government NGO’ – which Talk Together London CIC certainly is not.
To cut the long story short, we did not receive any positive response from Facebook. They did not contact us or explain why we could not merge the existing Facebook pages for our organisation. In fact, we think in retrospect that their intention might have been all along to phase out the community group Facebook pages, which did not have personal accounts. And, so, we no longer 'do' Facebook!
PS If you know of good internet forums or virtual communities to join, do let us know.