Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Facebook - Account Restrictions. Why They Happen and How You Can Possibly Avoid Them.

Quite a few people have messaged me on the Bulldog Estate stating Facebook has restricted their ability to share post, photos and send friend request, and that they were unsure whether or not the prompts they saw were legitimate or a scams. They also expressed annoyance over the restrictions and couldn't figure out why they happened. Hopefully the information I will provide below will shed some light on whats really happening and possibly help you solve the problem should you experience it. Better yet, maybe it will help you avoid the issue altogether.

First and Foremost: Let's make sure you don't fall for Facebook Phishing Scams.

If you are receiving messages in your Private Message box, News Feed, Chat or by Email that claim your account will be deactivated or blocked due to abuse or TOS violations, do not respond to them. Those types of messages come from scam artist who are trying to obtain your Facebook password and other personal information. The messages usually have bad wording, misspellings and odd looking links that do not point to Facebook's domain, www.Facebook.com. They also try to rush you into action by stating you must click the link within a certain time frame, like 24 hours. To learn more about Facebook Phishing scams and how to avoid them, please read the help topic >> HERE.

Receiving Prompts From Facebook That State Your Account or Action has been Restricted.

If you are receiving PROMPTS (Dialog boxes) while logged into Facebook, and these prompts (Dialog boxes) explain you have been restricted from using a feature like: Sharing, Posting Statuses/ Photos/ Videos or Sending Friend Request, DO NOT ignore the messages. The prompts (Dialog boxes) come from Facebook and are alerting you to a restriction that either has been or will be placed on your account by Facebook. These types of restrictions can last from a day to 30 days and if you continue the activity that caused or is about to cause your restriction, your account may end up being disabled permanently. Please see the example prompts below.

Examples (Click To Enlarge)

What causes these types of restrictions?
In simple terms the Facebook platform uses different software, algorithms and systems to detect and protect it's users from spam or spam like behavior within the social network. In general the system is not designed to restrict the average user's normal actions but rather to monitor all actions and flag what appears to be spammy, virus like or socially annoying behavior. While most people think the spam system is simply there to protect them from malicious spammers, scammers and other cyber-criminals, it's really there to monitor everyone and will flag or restrict anyone it believes or it thinks is breaking certain rules.

What rules am I breaking that is causing Facebook to restrict me? I'm not a spammer!
Facebook is very clear about certain actions that can cause accounts restrictions in certain areas. However Facebook doesn't actually tell ANYONE how much they should share, post content, send invites or friend request. When you think about it, it would be unfair for them to dictate that to users. However, everyone who has a little common sense will naturally adhere to what is unwritten about sharing, friending and what not. Below I have listed a few of the "unseen or unwritten" rules for these actions.

Your Facebook account can be restricted or even worse deactivated if:
  • You send “too many” friend requests over a short period of time.
  • You send "too many" friend request to users who don't know you and many of them reject your friend request.
  • You make “too many” Timeline posts in one day/session/week – especially if the posts have identical content and links.
  • You copy and paste the same message “too many” times.
  • You send “too many” identical emails to individual friends and/or groups of people.
  • You send messages to your Group members “too many” times.
  • You “poke” too many people.
  • You message your Event invitees “too many” times.
  • You join "too many" groups.
  • You post "too many" promotional links.
  • You "Like" "too many" things too quickly.
  • You have Malware on your computer and it's sending spam through your account.

The Keywords here are "TOO MANY", "TOO MUCH" & "TOO FAST"...


This is the part I think many people misunderstand since there are no clear numbers involved and they believe they should be free to do as they please, in certain areas, "Socially". Listen, if you're blasting post out all day long, sharing everything you see, trying to friend tons of people you don't know everyday, you really need to stop. You are actually misusing, and kind of misunderstanding what Facebook is about. You are also causing the "Anti- Spam" system to flag you for the behavior. There is nothing stopping you from sharing or friending normally and at a relatively steady pace. Take me for example: I never share more than 10 post a day with my friends and no more than 4 a day on my fan pages. I know I can exceed that but I have chosen not to. If I share more than that, I run the risk of most of the post not being seen anyway. Not only that but I may annoy my friends and cause them to start hiding/ rejecting what I post. I also don't send out of the blue friend request to people I haven't spoken to prior or know in real life. 

Facebook's way of handling certain people who have not realized they need to govern their actions a little, is to restrict them, so they get the point and throttle back. When you actually stop and think about it, there is nothing worse than a person who post, shares, likes or friends too much. It can be annoying when one person floods your feed with their actions and content all day long.

What can I do to not receive restrictions or to the get restrictions on my account removed?
All you really need to do to not end up with restrictions on your account is to act human and take things slow. If you have a bunch of stuff you want to share or a bunch of people you want to friend, space it out. Share a little then go do something else of a period of time. Act naturally, not like a bot or a spammer. Also be mindful of what you share. There are many times you may share something that has already been flag. If that's the case and and you've made that mistake too often, you may find you will be flag for sharing the content as well. As far as getting restrictions remove, that can be a hellish task and may result in you being left to wait for the restriction to be removed at the end of the time frame allotted. Facebook isn't too good with customer support and they really don't give users to many options for fighting restrictions such as these.

Resources, Help topics and Additional Information:
Below I am listing all of the information I have compiled on the subject matter. This includes information about Facebook's spam system, their help resources and a few additional tidbits of helpful information. Some of the information is a bit technical in nature but you should read it so that you can try to have a better understanding.

Facebook Help Topics:

Why does Facebook limit the use of certain features and what are the limits?

I'm blocked from using a feature (ex: sending messages, tagging things, uploading photos, etc.).

I have been blocked from uploading photos.

I have been blocked from uploading videos.

You can also be restricted or blocked from commenting if too many other users complain about your comments.

Facebook extends censorship ban to a month

Information on Facebook's Fight Against Spam.

A Look At How Facebook Fights Spam

Inside Facebook's massive cyber-security system

Fighting spam with pure functions

The Fight Goes On

Updates in Facebook’s Fight Against Spam and Spammers

Additional Tidbits and Things to be Aware of:

Note 1: - Site-wide Glitches
There are times when Facebook restricts users incorrectly. Sometime the system just goes crazy and starts tossing up security/ restriction prompts for no reason. If you are suffering that, you'll know cause the restrictions will suddenly disappear after a few hours to a day or so. If you believe you have had restrictions place on your account for no reason or as the result of a glitch, you can try to submit a bug report to Facebook.

Report a Bug

Note 2: - Malware Related Restrictions
Some restrictions might actually have to do with a rogue app or malicious plugin you've mistakenly installed. The rogue app or plugin may be spamming through your account. If this is the case you will need to remove the malware from your computer and Facebook account.

How to Thoroughly Cleanup Your Facebook Account After You’ve Fallen for a Spam Attack.

Facebook’s Account Restriction Due To Malware.
Example Facebook McAfee Virus Scan

Note 3: - Account locked till you provide your Phone Number. 
Facebook may lock you out of your account and request you provide a credit card or phone number as proof of your identity. If you are locked out in this manner, you will have to provide what is requested to regain access to your account. ( Might I suggest a $7.99 tracfone or other cheap throw-away. )

Why is Facebook asking me to confirm my identity by providing my phone number?

How do I verify my developer account?

Stay Safe
~Black Knight

PS> I'm not taking Facebook side in the matter. I'm simply offering an educational perspective on the topic at hand. I've been on the business end of Facebook restrictions in the past. It's no fun. Matter of fact I've actually had my fan pages removed and blocks put on me for sharing. I know what it's like.

About Black Knight

I am a computer repair technician with over 15 years experience and have been computer security and information privacy enthusiast for the last 4 years. I've helped literally thousands of individuals fix their issues by offering help through various blogs and Facebook pages. I like teaching myself and others new things, and believe in freely sharing knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. Recently I uploaded a video that had audio (music) content that unbeknownst to me would cause a "copyright infringement" issue on Facebook. Facebook removed my video and contacted me by email to tell me the video was removed. I acknowledged my "error" at the time,BUT now find I can NOT upload a family video of my dog or child or of myself. It has been almost 60 days to the day, give or take a day, that this happened. I filed "bug reports" and asked my friends what to do. Facebook do not respond to my query, and my friends all say my Acoount has been "RESTRICTED" from uploading future videos. Please tell me for HOW LONG such a "RESTRICTION" can or should last, and HOW may I get it lifted? Or does a "RESTRICTION" last forever? I have another Facebook account and have NO problems uploading family videos, so I assume my friends are right when they say I am being "RESTRICTED" at my primary Facebook account. Please advise as to what Procedure or by what means I can get this "RESTRICTION" removed. Many thanx and kind regards..