This came up recently in the comments on my Social Media Policies for Staff post, so thought I’d discuss it further. Please add your thoughts!
Here’s the issue: some people and organizations want very much to keep their personal profiles very separate from work stuff – that’s understandable. But to do that, they have created multiple accounts. Individuals create their normal personal profile, and then they also create a separate “worker dude” profile that they only use for official work-related business. Sorta like most of us have separate work and personal email accounts.
I know of at least one library that takes this a bit further, and creates “work-only” profiles for staff to use to administer their organization’s Facebook Page. Their thinking is that the organization owns the profiles, since the organization created them … so they’re not connected to an individual, and therefore ok.
Here’s the problem with that – Facebook really only acknowledges two types of accounts – personal profiles and organizational Pages. Period.
Facebook does allow something they call a “Business account.” What’s that? Here’s what Facebook says about them:
What is the difference between a business account and a user profile?
Business accounts are designed for individuals who only want to use the site to administer Pages and their ad campaigns. For this reason, business accounts do not have the same functionality as personal accounts. Business accounts have limited access to information on the site. An individual with a business account can view all the Pages and Social Ads that they have created, however they will not be able to view the profiles of users on the site or other content on the site that does not live on the Pages they administer. In addition, business accounts cannot be found in search and cannot send or receive friend requests.
So a “business account” is really no more than a very limited-access personal profile for individuals that only want to use it to manage a Page. And even those have to be set up by individuals (not organizations).
Facebook spells that out even further here:
If I already have a user profile, can I create a business account?
Where am I going with this? Just this – I know lots of organizations either already have or are wanting to create a Facebook presence. And I know some organizations and some individuals who are very leery of “showing themselves” on Facebook – using their personal profiles for work AND for personal stuff.
But here’s the rub – Facebook’s Terms of Service really only gives you two options – use your personal account for work, or don’t use Facebook. That third option – creating a fake “work-only” profile? Works great … until you get caught. Then your profile, and potentially your organization’s Page, might get deleted.
pic by researchgirl