On November 19 2019, a number of Facebook page administrators received messages from the social media platform bearing the warning: “Your page is at risk of being unpublished” for various actions.
One poster on Reddit’s r/facebook on that day reported receiving the “your page is at risk of being unpublished” warning, purportedly for the infraction of “inauthentic behavior.” According to that the post, the warning popped up on all Facebook pages managed by that user:
Another person commenting on the post noted they too had received the message:
Same here. Only for the pages I run in Business Manager, though. After a quick search, it appears there are a lot of people in the same boat – as of today. Let’s hope it’s just because of one of those many “live updates” they’ve accustomed us to…
Two hours later, the original poster commented to report the flags had disappeared. Another post from the same user to r/socialmedia contained a handful of reports, along with comments suggesting that the warning was “widespread“:
In most publicly shared complaints, users cited “inauthentic behavior” as the cited cause of the “your page is at risk of being unpublished” warning. Another post was shared to a South Africa-based site on November 19 2019. The author of the post claimed that friends had also received the warning:
This morning I checked my page quality and was shocked to see that my Page is at risk of being unpublished. (See the screenshot below)
The message reads: “Your Page is at risk of being restricted or unpublished for repeated violations against our standards on Inauthentic Behavior.”
Furthermore, there is no valid reason for this. After checking more and more of my pages, I realised that this might be just another “facebook bug”. All of my pages are at risk of being restricted or unpublished, according to facebook.
I then contacted a friend or two to also check their page quality and they also had the same threat message.
A November 12 2019 post on Reclaim the Net reported on a recently unpublished page, removed from Facebook after it received such notices. The page (with the headline “Facebook deletes conservative outlet’s Pages, 3.4M followers, including staff personal accounts”) reported that in that instance the infraction was “spam and misrepresentation,” not “inauthentic behavior”:
According to information LaCorte News shared with Reclaim The Net, the main LaCorte News Facebook Page, other Pages run by the company, Instagram accounts run by the company, and some personal staff Facebook accounts have been removed. LaCorte News says the Facebook Pages collectively had 3.4 million followers.
Facebook has cited “spam and misrepresentation” as the reason for the Page removals … A few days before the Pages were removed, LaCorte News was suddenly hit with multiple unexplained community standards violations and threatened with the message: “Your Page is at risk of being unpublished because of continued Community Standards violations.”
A public group called “Facebook Support” (which was unofficial and not affiliated with Facebook or any of its support pages) showed a number of posts in a variety of languages about the “your page is at risk of being unpublished” warning, typically for “inauthentic behavior” on November 19 2019.
A number of people who received the warning said outright that they believed they had been targeted by Facebook for political reasons when they received the message. However, non-political pages such as small businesses also seemed to be warned with similar frequency, and pages claiming otherwise seemed to run the gamut of political stances.
It appeared searches and variations were a hot topic among those using Google:
Smith said that the issue had been resolved at or around 2PM EST, or 11AM PST, which aligned with the Reddit poster’s comment. Another social media marketing firm also called the issuance of warnings a “bug“:
On Twitter, Matt Navarra shared a screenshot from a private group, in which the official Facebook Journalism Project account purportedly addressed the “your page is at risk of being unpublished” flags:
The post read:
We have received reports from many Page admins about seeing this message recently. It is a bug and we are working on it. If you have seen this, you don’t need to do anything. We will follow up with any updates when we get them.
That message was an unverified screenshot, shared only to a private group with limited access. Members belonging to the group may have been able to see the post (depending on whether Facebook’s algorithms displayed it to them), but we could neither authenticate it not affirm it was accurate. If Facebook or Facebook Journalism Project recognized the warnings as a bug, it did not appear either entity notified page administrators globally who had received the message.
An unfortunate aspect of the relationships of individuals, businesses, and publishers to Facebook is the social network’s notorious opacity regarding its decisions — which are often final. Not long before “your page is at risk of being unpublished” flags began appearing globally, we wrote about our own experiences in resolving an issue with TruthOrFiction.com’s Page Quality tab as well as those of other outlets.
Although Facebook’s Twitter account @facebook was active during the “your page is at risk of being unpublished” and “inauthentic behavior” warnings, it did not officially address the many flags that were apparently issued to pages on November 19 2019 (nor did it answer queries to the account @fbnewsroom). Facebook marketers claimed that the flags were a “bug,” and people on social media reported that their flags eventually disappeared with no action.
However, we were unable to find any response at all from Facebook to the many page administrators concerned about the warning.