What is Restricted on Facebook? The Small Business Owner‘s Complete Guide

With over 2.5 billion active users, Facebook is home to vibrant communities and conversations. But as an open platform, Facebook grapples with problematic content and behaviors that can detract from users‘ experience. That‘s why understanding what is restricted on Facebook is crucial for any business utilizing the platform – especially small businesses trying to avoid costly mistakes.

As a consultant who has helped dozens of entrepreneurs boost their presence on Facebook, I‘ve compiled this comprehensive guide on Facebook‘s content and account restrictions. My goal is to help small business owners steer clear of any pitfalls and utilize Facebook effectively to reach customers.

The Rationale Behind Facebook‘s Restrictions

Facebook aims to balance free expression with safety. Their Community Standards outline what‘s allowed and not allowed on both Facebook and Instagram to protect users. Some highlights:

  • Safety: Restrictions curb real-world harm (e.g. blocking dangerous groups)
  • Privacy: Limiting unwanted/inappropriate contact protects privacy
  • Authenticity: Rules against misrepresentation increase accountability
  • Equality: Removing hate speech fosters inclusion

However, Facebook‘s content moderation has also faced criticism for being:

  • Inconsistent: Standards are subjective and enforcement varies
  • Intransparent: Decision-making processes lack transparency
  • Overbroad: Policies cast too wide a censorship net

As an entrepreneur, you must carefully balance your right to free speech with compliance. Let‘s explore key restrictions.

Restricted Content Categories

Posting prohibited content can get your business‘s account restricted or disabled. Here are some of the main categories Facebook blocks:

1. Violent and Graphic Content

Depictions of violence, gore, and physical harm are prohibited. For example, your post may be removed if it shows:

  • Gruesome injuries from accidents
  • Physical bullying or assault
  • Animal abuse
  • Instructions on making weapons

2. Adult Nudity and Sexual Content

Sexual content like pornography, as well as some images of female breasts and buttocks, are blocked to maintain a family-friendly environment.

3. Hate Speech and Symbols

Content attacking or dehumanizing people based on identity characteristics like race, gender, or religion violates Facebook‘s rules. For instance, you cannot post:

  • White nationalist propaganda
  • Anti-immigrant tirades
  • Transphobic rants
  • Neo-Nazi slogans and symbols

4. Harassment and Bullying

Repeatedly targeting private individuals with unwanted contact or malicious content is prohibited.

5. Misinformation and False News

Intentionally misleading content that contributes to voter/census suppression, physical harm, or widespread panic is not allowed. However, satire and parody are permitted.

Restricted Behaviors

In addition to content, certain behaviors can get your account restricted. These include:

  • Spam: Mass messaging strangers or posting repetitive, unrelated content
  • Impersonation: Pretending to be someone else to mislead people
  • Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior: Using multiple accounts or working with others to artificially boost engagement and deceive users
  • Hacking and Malware: Attempting to compromise or infiltrate Facebook systems

My clients often accidentally engage in "like farms" not realizing these violate policies against coordinated inauthentic behavior. I advise using only authentic promotion strategies.

Account Restrictions and Penalties

If you continually violate policies, Facebook can impose account restrictions like:

  • Page reach throttling
  • Removal of monetization features
  • Disabling commenting and sharing abilities
  • Temporarily blocking rule-breaking users from posting or advertising
  • Permanently disabling accounts in severe cases

According to Facebook‘s latest Transparency Report:

  • 4.4 million pieces of content were removed for bullying and harassment from July-September 2022
  • Action was taken on 1.4 billion fake accounts in the same period
  • 2.3 million posts containing hate speech were taken down

The stakes are high, so steer clear of violations.

Advertising Restrictions

When promoting posts and products through Facebook ads, several categories of content and practices are prohibited:

  • Weapons, recreational drugs, and adult entertainment
  • Deceptive claims or clickbait techniques
  • Targeting or excluding by race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation
  • Sensational or shocking content just for attention

I once had a client spend over $5,000 on ads before realizing they violated policies. Be sure to review guidelines before advertising.

Tips for Staying Compliant

Based on my experience advising entrepreneurs on Facebook best practices, here are my top tips for avoiding restrictions:

  • Read the standards regularly and take the free online training
  • Audit old content and remove any posts that could violate evolving rules
  • Enable two-factor authentication and monitor for suspicious logins to avoid hacking
  • Create a page rather than using a personal profile for your business
  • Seek help if your account is ever restricted – I‘m here to support!

While staying compliant takes work, the payoff of engaging meaningfully with customers makes it worthwhile. With this guide, you‘re well on your way to success on Facebook! Let me know if you have any other questions.