facebook Country Restrictions change

Posted on 2011-06-09 10:21

While I no longer have a personal facebook account, I do still help maintain a facebook page for the company I work for. To do this we originally set up a "company account" (facebook originally offered such business accounts and then banned them without warning or notice) so eventually the company account got co-opted by the sales person in charge of the page and the account was tailored for his use. I occasionally will log in with that account (masquerading as our sales guy) just to edit the company page.

Today I got an email from a dealer of ours with a link to their own facebook page in the signature. I was not logged into Facebook at the time. Clicking the link, I was greeted with a facebook login page instead of their page. This isn't the way facebook pages were designed to work originally - they were supposed to be viewable even without logging in - that was the whole point of them - Pages was offered by facebook as a way for facebook users to offer a real web page to the world while keeping their personal stuff personal). I checked our own company page (without logging in) and the same thing happened even though I know this wasn't true as recently as last week. Digging into this deeper it appears that facebook has started adding Country Restrictions (in our case United States had been selected) so that only folks in the US could see the page. Since any restriction like Country or Age requires a user to be logged in so that facebook can know if they are qualified to view the page, this has the result that all facebook pages are effectively no longer viewable on the web except to logged in Facebook users. This is essentially a 180 on what their Pages offering was supposed to be - yet they didn't bother to inform anyone about it? Facebook calls the change a "security measure", but while it may be an attempt to reduce the possibility of DoS attacks from China - it also changes their offerings drastically with the added benefit (to them) of nudging non facebook users to sign up. Companies all over the world who have links to facebook on their own websites (and don't know about this change) are suddenly pointing non-facebook users to a page which states they need to register with facebook to view it.

I removed the restriction because we sell internationally and restricting the page to only those in the US isn't what we want, but also because I want anyone (yes, even non-facebook users) who might be interested in reading our latest "facebook news" to be able to do so. This is just another example of why I stopped using facebook - its a free service so they can do what they want, but I'm also free to not use it.