By Christie Keith
March 9, 2011
Is your dog on Facebook? How about your cat, ferret, animal shelter, store, rescue group or, I don’t know… your weather duck? And if they are, did a common mistake in setting up their Facebook presences leave you at risk of getting them deleted from the world’s largest social network?
I keep seeing people speculating that Beast Zuckerberg is getting special treatment as the dog of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in that he has his own Facebook page when “everyone knows” that pet pages aren’t allowed and are subject to deletion.
But that’s not true. Beast has a Facebook page, which is what all businesses, brands, websites, companies, organizations, books, products, animal shelters, rescue groups, public figures, and yes, pets, are supposed to have.
What they can’t have is a Facebook profile, which is a very different “beast,” even though the differences aren’t always obvious to the casual Facebook user.
Personal profiles are what individual human beings create in their real names on Facebook.
Pages, such as this one for PetConnection.com or this for Dr. Marty Becker, are what you want to create for anything other than your personal use in your own, real name. You need to have a personal profile to create a page.
A personal profile is private to just your “friends,” is not fully searchable on Google, and has to be in your own real name, and can only be created by and for a real human being.
In order to connect with another individual real person on Facebook, both parties have to agree to be “friends,” in response to a “friend request” from one of them.
In order to connect with a page, all you have to do is click the “Like” button for that page. The owner of the page doesn’t get a notice that you “liked” it, and they don’t have to approve the “like” (although they can ban you from the page after the fact).
Messages posted by pages will show up in your feed just like those posted by your friends using their profiles, but you can sort your feed to view just pages or just friends if you prefer.
Pages are public and are fully searchable by Google.
Additionally, while a page can comment in the name of the page to another page, they can’t (with one rare exception) make a comment to an individual’s profile.
Pages can “like” other pages, but they can’t become someone’s “friend.”
Critically for organizations, good causes, and companies, a personal profile maxes out at 5,000 friends, while the number of “likes” your page can have is unlimited.
Most importantly, having a profile in a name other than your own real name is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service. Profiles created for pets, businesses, shelters, etc. are subject to immediate deletion if Facebook discovers them. While their enforcement of this is extremely limited, people have gotten their pets’ profiles, or those of their business or organization, deleted, and lost all contact with their “friends.” Which might only be somewhat upsetting if it’s for your dog, but is pretty devastating for a business or shelter.
And since Gina left me in charge, what the heck. Got a page for a pet? Post it here!
Image from a PowerPoint presentation I authored on “The Three Biggest Social Media Mistakes.” Graphic by Amy Suggars.