Jake and I communicate primarily through Facebook Messenger. It’s a habit we’re trying to kick and move over to Google Hangouts instead.
We never send sensitive information — just a lot of memes and task updates, which sometimes include links. This is how we learned one of our client’s domains had been blacklisted by Facebook. When either of us hit send on a message with a link to their website in it, we would see this.
Jake said the same thing happened on Instagram posts too. Any post with a link to their website wouldn’t publish.
We knew the domain had a sketchy history. Before we rebuilt their website, the old website had been hacked and injected with a malicious script that redirected half of the traffic to another domain with an affiliate offer. Shady stuff. But the domain is a nice one worth cleaning up. If their business’s name was Grandpa’s Books, the domain name would be grandpasbooks.com — an exact match.
For that reason it wasn’t a total surprise to learn Facebook had banned the domain. We just needed to learn how to lift the ban.
Glen experienced a similar situation, submitted a request to review and repeal the ban, but never heard back.
But in the same comment thread, someone else said they requested a review and the ban was lifted for their domain.
So I kept digging.
I searched Facebook’s Help Center for posts with “domain” in the title.
A few other people shared their experiences with Facebook blocking their domains, hoping for a solution.
- Brand new domain blocked… why?
- Domain name blocked by Facebook?
- Why my domain is banned from facebook?
The comments are filled with more people sharing the same problem.
In those comments, Facebook’s help team recommends running your website through the Facebook Debugger.
I tried that and got the same message as before. “We can’t review this website because the content doesn’t meet our Community Standards. If you think this is a mistake, please let us know.”
I continued to search through the Facebook for Developers website for more information, but the most I could find was a short section on their FAQ page under “Link Sharing”, saying that, when you submit a report for an appeal, be sure to include the relevant URL.
Since the report page doesn’t contain any mention of including the domain name, it seems worth noting. Especially because the report page says they “aren’t able to review individual reports“. The process is probably automated.
That brings us to where we are today. At the time that I am publishing this, it has been a little over a month since submitting a report for an appeal to whitelist our client’s domain, allow us to share their website (and advertise!) on Facebook and Instagram. Unfortunately we still haven’t heard back — when we try to share the domain it remains blocked.
For now we’re still waiting. We’re able to shift our emphasis and focus on search traffic for the time being. But we’re prepared for the very real reality that, if we want website visibility on Facebook, we might need to buy a new domain and migrate the current website.
If you’re reading this and experiencing the same problem, my advice is this: Request a review, but prepare for the worst. If social traffic is vital to the success of your domain, you might want to skip the wait and just go buy a new one.