English Translation of Mentioned Article:
Facebook: how the sale of groups and pages in the social network works and why the company considers it spam
BBC News World
Most people use Facebook to keep track of their friends’ lives, stay informed or share an occasional video of a topic that interests them. But beyond the family photos and the viral videos of cats, there are those who use the social network to earn money.
There are different ways to make a profit on the platform, from creating a page to promote a brand to selling items on Facebook Marketplace -your sales space- or publishing an advertisement.
How I managed to sell all my things on the internet without making a big effort (and why it can be addictive)
The social network considers all these ways of making money legitimate.
However, among the more than 2 billion people who use Facebook there are those who have opted for a more risky method and on which there is no such clear regulation: buy and sell groups and pages to obtain media influence.
This is a practice that would fit into what we define as ‘spam’ in our community standards, a spokesperson for the social network told BBC Mundo.
Facebook says that buying likes or followers in a deceptive way is a fraud.
The Facebook spokesperson cites a section in which the platform explains that "it works hard putting limits on commercial spam [unsolicited messages] to prevent misleading advertising, fraud and security breaches.
We do not allow people to use misleading or inaccurate information to collect likes (‘likes’), followers or shared publications, the report reads.
This text prohibits, among other things, creating or using false accounts or compromising the accounts of others to impersonate a business, organization, public figure or individual.
Read here the Facebook rules regarding spam (in English) *
However, some consider that there is no clear line on this type of activity.
I think they confuse two different issues, which are buying and selling, and buying and selling pages has nothing to do with spamming - in fact, if you start sending spam, people stop following you, he says. BBC Mundo a spokesperson for ViralAccounts.com, a company that manages the sale and purchase of accounts and pages on social networks.
ViralAccounts.com notes on its website that it buys and sells Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube accounts.
Our main focus is the viral properties in social networks, so if you have an account with a high number of followers, give us an opportunity, says the company. We buy and sell influence on Facebook pages.
The spokesperson of ViralAccounts.com tells BBC Mundo that most people never realize that there is a change of ownership [when they buy a page or account] and that the content remains the same.
However, the company representative says that this type of business is not as big as when it started.
Two or three years ago even a small page (between 100,000 and 300,000 followers) offered the potential to earn between US $ 1,000 and US $ 2,000 a day, and in 2013 the income was even higher.
But this year the market for Facebook pages is collapsing, they are not worth as much anymore. Blame it to the new policies introduced by the social network in March and that allow you to remove the pages used to monetize websites and force people to pay Facebook to have visibility.
As for legality, it’s a hotly debated topic, he adds. One thing I’m sure of is that there is no criminal code in the world that says buying and selling Facebook pages is illegal.
Personally, I find it strange that Facebook forbids me to transfer those properties, but has created a proprietary system designed to transfer the rights from one account to another without having to sell your personal email account.;
The voices against
In London, there was a case that caught the attention of the British press in recent days: 25,000 members left a group in protest after finding out that the administrator had sold it.
The story came to light after an investigation by the BBC, which contacted several users of the social network that are dedicated to this practice.
The group was created by a woman named Kathryn Coles in 2011, but she was no longer in charge of it when the sale took place. A lot of people are angry, they had a lot of affection for the group; Coles said.
It was a space in which they promoted activities and events in the neighborhood (Northfields, west of the city), discussed local issues and sold items.
Facebook responded by saying that it disabled the account and that & it urges the community to report cases like this so that we can investigate them and take action.
Jon Morter is in charge of a Facebook group about Essex that has about 30,000 members and is the administrator of another group. A few weeks ago, a member published that someone had offered to buy the group; he told the BBC.
Another member of the group said he was also contacted, and a lot of us investigated it and we realized they are the same people.
We discovered that they have at least five, or maybe more, community groups, they also say they charge money for posting ads.
The BBC also contacted people who buy the groups.
Some of the buyers say that they are dedicated to buying groups as a business and that they also sell unofficial Facebook advertising space.
Morter says that in 2014 a US company offered him $ 4,000 for a fan page for a musical group he was in charge of.
They said they belonged to a marketing company and that ‘we would like to put our own ads on it, but we will not prevent you from continuing to publish your content.’
Morter says he did not sell the page.
He also considers that Facebook’s community standards are not clear regarding the sale of pages and groups.
They are not precise, there is nothing specific that says whether or not you can buy the rights of the administrator.
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