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Why Businesses Should Hesitate To Embrace Facebook

September 28, 2011

When the Danish national election was announced late August, the tabloid B.T. got a great idea. On its very busy website,, it asked it many users to either to like the left-winged (red block) or the rigth-winged (blue block). There was a clear Facebook-logo on the newspaper website, so you knew that you’d go to a Facebook group, if you liked either or.

In other words, B.T. recruited users from it own website to go to one of their two new Facebook groups.

Within days the two groups exploded with users.

30.000 users on blue, and 20.000 on red. That is a lot of users in little Denmark.

And then it was all over. Facebook suddely closed the two sites. Just like that. Without notice. Without any explanation.

A couple of days later, I met the Nordic Facebook represenative, Jan Christensen, in Copenhagen and asked him why. He said that he couldn’t tell exactly why, but that he guessed that it was becuase B.T. had not clearly stated that these groups were created by B.T.

I explained that B.T. recruited the likes from its own website, and that it posted information on the group info that it was made by He said that the B.T. logo – like any other commercial logos – should be clear on top of the first group page.

I asked him, if B.T. could correct this and have Facebook re-open the groups, and he said he could not help here, but that B.T. should contact Facebook in the US. I asked him, what that would take, and he confirmed that it would probably take weeks to get through to Facebook – if possible at all. So much for this election, it would then be all over.

No doubt B.T. could have done this better. But opposite a traditionel website, Facebook has become the one to decide everything, and Facebook obviously exercise its power. Facebook can close you down just like that. Nobody can do that on the open web – not just like that.


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  1. I remember discussing this BT-gimmick on Twitter and several other places. Many users pinpointed that the way BT had done it resembled like-jacking, since the layout on the website left the impression that users just clicked a like-button, whilst it actually represented a whole Page that the unaware users became fans of.

    So basically I guess that the initiative was shut down because BT broke the developer policies.

    This is not an example of why business should hesitate to embrace Facebook. It’s an example of a company that clearly doesn’t understand the media they’re trying to embrace. They didn’t get shut down because Facebook wanted to exercise power. They got shut down because they were a security threat to the users.

    Mikael Lemberg

    • Dear Mikael
      Thanks so much for your comment.
      It is, however, alway easy to say that B.T. does not understand Facebook. B.T. is doing a great job on Facebook, I believe. I know that you make you living on FB getting companies to join it, but still it IS healthy to be critical towards a growing power like FB. Even you have to GUESS why FB closed down the B.T. initiative. We don’t know, because they don’t tell us anything. That is a problem.
      Too many have been likejacked by Facebook.
      cheers Pernille

      • My job is to help companies promote themselves positively on Facebook. The BT-case is a horrible example of a company misunderstanding their whole purpose completely:

        1. First they get unaware users to subscribe to a page feed by hiding the page as a regular like button. They could have used the FB likebox standard plugin and they wouldn’t have been shut down.

        2. BT seems to think that they’re on Facebook to broadcast spam to users who aren’t even aware that they signed up for it. This is the kind of company behavior that gives Facebook marketeers a bad rep, so I am happy to know that Facebook shut it down.

        Maybe I didn’t make myself clear in my first comment. I’m not guessing that this is the reason. I am absolutely confident it was. As are many other users on Facebook and Twitter who complained about BT’s intrusive and ignorant strategy back when the Pages emerged.

        The fact of the matter is that with this stunt, BT gained access to the newsfeed of over 50.000 danish Facebook users without informing them. To my best knowledge this is not only uncompliant with the generalt Facebook TOS. It’s also against danish marketing laws.

        I am alway open to discuss the power and monopoly of Facebook or other webservices. But please; if you want a serious discussion, please base it on a serious case.

    • Well, Michael, I’ll look forward to a discussion about the power and monopoly of Facebook.

      • Don’t discuss Facebook power with marketing people. They only see greatness and opportunities (which is good and what they are supposed to see). You need people with historical, philosophical and political insights to really understand the risks.

  2. very true, they suck.

    You have a spelling mistake on the 2nd the last sentence: “FB can clouse”

    keep up the good work

  3. Wow! This can be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Wonderful. I’m also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  4. They are very cruel. the dont realize how much hardwork people put in developing businesses and they just shut it down just like that. very sad

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