15 Ways to Avoid The Facebook Jail and Get Unblocked
The Facebook Jail is a punishment for violating the Facebook terms of service, community guidelines, or posting guidelines, but only a little bit. The most egregious violators of the rules are generally just banned outright, their accounts suspended entirely. Those who only skirt the line and barely cross it end up in Facebook Jail.
Three Levels of Punishment
There are essentially three possible levels of punishment for an account on Facebook. The highest level is the complete suspension of the account. It is, effectively, deleted. Anyone who tries to visit your account via a link will see “this account has been suspended” instead of the usual 404 or redirect to the Facebook homepage. This isn’t Facebook Jail, it’s more like Facebook Execution.
The middle level of punishment is a permanent tenure in Facebook Jail. It’s a permanent suspension of specific features of Facebook, but it allows you to continue using your account. For example, you might be able to post to your organic feed, add friends, and engage with people you know, but you will not be able to post in Facebook Groups, or access the Facebook Marketplace, or use Facebook Ads. This effect is permanent and Facebook will not accept an appeal.
The lowest level of punishment is a temporary stay in Facebook Jail. It’s the same as the middle level, except it’s temporary. It might last a week or a month, but eventually it will expire. It’s also occasionally possible to appeal the decision, but most of the time it’s better to just let the punishment expire; it will take about the same amount of time.
It’s also worth mentioning that the penalties can increase over time. The first rules violation might result in a week-long suspension from posting in Facebook Groups, but otherwise won’t affect your account. The second violation, however, will escalate. Even if the violation is the same, the punishment will be more severe, until it eventually results in a permanent suspension or even a complete ban.
Avoiding the Facebook Jail
The best offense is a good defense, right? That’s how the saying goes? In any case, the best way to deal with the Facebook Jail is to avoid being put into it in the first place. If you’ve already ended up in jail, skip to the next section for tips to help get out of it.
When it comes to avoiding the Facebook Jail, you mostly just need to be aware of Facebook’s rules of conduct and avoid violating them. There’s a lot going on in the terms of service and the community guidelines and they’re worth reading over, but I’ve listed some of the most common violations below.
1. Fake Names
If your real name sounds fake but isn’t, and Facebook suspends you on accusations that it’s a fake name, you can appeal the suspension. Facebook will ask for ID, and a scan of a valid ID will prove your identity and revoke the suspension. I’d like to say it also flags your account as legitimate and prevents future suspensions over your name, but I’d be lying. Facebook is way too inconsistent to set up a preventative plan like that.
A subdivision of this issue is any other fake information. Facebook doesn’t actually care about your birth date, but if you put a birth date of 1901, they’re going to pretty obviously recognize it as fake. Otherwise, any reasonable information is likely to be fine unless you need to verify it for some reason.
Another subdivision of this issue is an account for a non-human. There was a time a few years back when it seemed like everyone was making Facebook accounts for their pets, probably in hopes of following in the successful footsteps of famous animals like Maru, Princess Monstertruck, or Grumpy Cat. Rather than deal with people running profiles for pets, Facebook decided to ban the practice and force people to use Pages if they want to rep their animals.
2. Rapid Posting
Posting very frequently in a short period of time (often known as spam, in the parlance) on your wall, on the walls of other people, in groups, on pages, or in any other location is likely to earn you a suspension. This is an automatic reaction to rapid posting and is a measure taken against bots that want to effectively DDoS a user’s account. These are usually short suspensions unless you’re caught doing it multiple times, at which point they escalate.
A sub-section of this violation is rapidly sending the same text to a lot of friends on messenger or by posting on their walls. This is what commonly happens when you authorize a spambot or have your account otherwise compromised; they send out fake messages or spam to your friends list in an attempt to propagate. Rapidly sending the same message to a lot of different people will get you temporarily suspended.
3. Rapid Requests
Facebook has some limitations, both on the quantity and on the frequency of most of their requests. Friend requests are the most common limit to run into, since organic accounts generally don’t send out hundreds or thousands of requests per day. We covered that topic in depth in this article if you want to read a little deeper.
4. Offensive Content
This is not to be confused with content that violates the Facebook community guidelines.
- Community guideline violations are things like gore, pornography, outright scams, phishing schemes, ponzi schemes, drug content, weapon sales, hate speech, and so forth. Anything actually called out as prohibited in the community guidelines can result in a total account ban, not a temporary Facebook suspension.
- Offensive content is content that does not explicitly violate the rules, or does but has some plausible deniability attached. Veiled hate speech using euphemisms, threats against fake people with suspiciously familiar names, and that kind of thing are all likely to earn you a suspension if they are reported.
One thing leads to another, and this is one of the most rapidly escalating penalties on Facebook.
The platform is actively fighting hate speech and bullying (unlike some other platforms, right Twitter?) and will only allow you 1-2 strikes before they ban you completely.
5. Suspicious Payments
Facebook doesn’t look kindly on fraud, and while fraud between friends is often overlooked, fraud that hurts their platform is ruthlessly punished. If you want to pay for loot crates in your favorite Candy Clash game or whatever, or if you want to run Facebook ads, you need to give Facebook a payment method. Usually, this is a credit card. The thing is, if you add in a card that is later reported stolen – or if your payments are cancelled with a charge-back, particularly after you’ve spent the money – Facebook will take punitive action and ban you.
I don’t mean something like posting “I hate the Packers” when your team loses a game. I mean posting something like I hate XYZ race when your team loses an election. Hate speech – which has a pretty clear definition – is a punishable offense.
This extends to more than just your posts. If you join Facebook groups that are associated with extremist groups, whether it’s the Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK, any of the various middle eastern or African terror cells, or even supremacy groups like White Lives Matter, you’re liable to be banned. This can catch you even if you join a closed group just to report it, if you don’t leave before they bring the hammer down. There are a lot of groups out there, so always be careful with the people you associate with.
7. Multiple Accounts
Facebook doesn’t like people running more than one account. There’s virtually never a good reason to do this. You should have one personal account, and if you want to build up a brand, even a personal brand, a Page is the appropriate way to go.
The main reason you can get caught up in this is not because Facebook cares about you operating one other account for close friends, it’s because people who run multiple accounts are often selling follows/likes/other metrics and abusing Facebook services. You’ll get caught in their periodic bot purges.
This (as well as the “only humans” rule in #1) will also catch people who run brand pages as organic profiles. The punishment there is often different, though; if you’re running a business as a profile, they will convert it into a Page for you. This carries over your followers and posts and everything else, but restricts what you can do on the profile version afterwards.
Escaping the Facebook Jail
As I’ve mentioned before, there are three levels of punishment for violations. Each one has a different process for coping with it.
If you’ve been temporarily suspended from some features on Facebook, like the marketplace, making organic posts, or messenger, there’s nothing you can do. Most of these suspensions last a few days, and the longest I’ve heard of any lasting is ~21 days or so.
You can technically send Facebook an email asking for an appeal, but Facebook is a massive organization with a relatively small number of employees working for it. By the time they even read your email, the chances are pretty good your suspension will have expired. Just wait it out and try not to do whatever you did again.
When you’re suspended for any cause, as long as you can still access Facebook, you will see an informational message in your support inbox. This will often contain steps you can take to fix whatever problem, as well as a description of what caused your suspension. There may be unique steps involved that you should take, so always read these messages if they exist.
If you’ve been permanently suspended from certain features, or permanently banned from the site as a whole, you will need to take the email appeal route. When you’re suspended, you will need to access this form, which can only be accessed if you’re logged out of Facebook. They will ask for the email or phone number you use to access Facebook. They will also ask for your full name as listed on your account, a scan of a valid government ID, and any additional info.
In the additional info box, you should type what you believe caused your suspension, what you’re doing to prevent that action in the future, and as sincere an expression of regret as possible. Don’t post a sob story about your livelihood being at risk or anything like that, they don’t care. Just be clear, concise, and honest about the problem.
This includes cases where you believe you were suspended for something you didn’t do. For example, if someone mobilized some bots to mass report you for hate speech when you haven’t posted anything even vaguely similar to hate speech, or if a photo is reported for nudity when it contains no people at all, it’s a fairly clear abuse of the system. A lot of the time, when you’re suspended from Facebook, it’s an automatic process doing it. An appeal will be looked at by a real person and they can revoke the block.