What to Do When an Ex-Employee Holds Your Facebook Page Hostage

Written By: Dafne Canales  Posted:a month ago

What to Do When an Ex-Employee Holds Your Facebook Page Hostage

We recently had a colleague come to us for help with a non-profit they're assisting. A volunteer who was managing their social media got mad at the board and is now holding their Facebook page hostage. Here are some tips that might help with the current problem and also help to avoid them in the future.

When It Has Already Happened

1. Get admin rights

The first step Facebook asks you to take is have the ex-employee or ex-volunteer give you admin rights to the page. Here are some step-by-step tips to do that:

How do I manage roles for my Page?

2. Report a hacked page

You can also report a hacked page or hacked account.

3. Report infringement of intellectual property

If the ex-employee/volunteer is unresponsive, you can report the page for using your intellectual property:

Reporting a Violation or Infringement of Your Rights

Example: We've had to do this in the past when one of our client's competitors had taken the main picture from their homepage and was using it as the banner for their own Facebook page. Facebook was very responsive and the image was removed within a few hours. We actually had to report them several times because they kept putting it up! And each time it was removed by Facebook.

4. Talk to a lawyer at Alberta's Business Link

And finally, when push comes to shove, you may need a little legal advice. One of the Alberta resources I absolutely love is Alberta Business Link. They have lawyers you can talk to for a very minimal fee and other experts as well. They're an amazing resource for small businesses and non-profits who wouldn't normally be able to access these kinds of experts.

All of the above are the URGENT steps to take to try to get your account back. How do you prevent this problem from happening in the future?

Planning for the Future

So that it doesn't happen again, here are some best practices.

1. Set up Google's G-Suite

First of all I would encourage all businesses and especially non-profits to set up their emails with Google's Business Suite, now called G-Suite. It provides a lot of security from an owner/board perspective because it gives you super-admin access and control over what's happening on the employee or volunteer level so that no one leaves with all your emails or social media accounts.

If you're a non-profit, see below to find out how you can access these resources for free.

It's very easy to set up and affordable for any size business (and, as you can see, you can't afford not to set things up this way). I prefer Google's security features and flexibility over Microsoft products. (For those of you using Microsoft, it would be comparable to Microsoft 365, but much better.)

2. Have employees/contractors/volunteers use the company email

You always maintain the rights to your accounts by having employees, contractors, and volunteers use your company email.

Example: For each client we work with, we set up Google's G-Suite to manage social media for them, set up advertising, and track phone numbers. We do all of that by creating an  ops@yourcompanyname.com email. Everything we set up for our clients is done using this email, so that if they ever need to move to another provider, they can take all of their information with them, and we can hand them all their passwords. In an emergency situation, they can recover their passwords because they own their account.

In the case of a disgruntled ex-employee/ex-volunteer, because your business or non-profit owns and controls the email, your super-admin (who should be someone you feel is absolutely trustworthy) can always reset the password and lock the people out if they were to become disgruntled.

Example: We had a "situation" with one of our employees, and until we could clarify the situation, we suspended their account. They were unable to access email from their phone or any device immediately.

How many times have you heard of a company keeping someone's website or accounts hostage? Setting your systems up correctly helps you avoid this costly mistake.

3. It's free for non-profits

Non-profits in Canada can get Google's Business Suite for Non-Profits for FREE. The program is managed by Techsoup Canada.

Not only do you get G-Suite for free, you benefit from an excellent program that offers a variety of other complementary services to non-profits.

And your final tip: Setting up the non-profit account is sometimes confusing so we've written an article with some tips on how the setup process works. See Setting Up a Non-Profit Google Account.