Facebook Shuts Down Page with 47,000+ Fans

Well now we know who the boss is.  Facebook has shut down a real estate business page with 47,000 plus members giving zero notice to the page owner, Jonathan Rivera.  The Official Real Estate Referral Group is a community that Jon started almost 2 years ago and had just crossed the 47,000 fan mark making it one of the largest real estate related pages on Facebook.  The goal of the page was to connect like minded real estate agents who were looking to grow their business via referrals and social media.  Simply put, you meet a buyer or seller looking in another market and you can shout out to the page that you need another agent to handle the deal.  Jon had created over 1400 opportunities for agents in the last 18 months and more importantly has put countless time, energy and resources into moderating such a large page.

The controversy is related to the vanity URL that Jon chose when first setting up the page.  Once a Facebook Page has 25 fans the admin can go to Facebook.com/Username and secure a custom or vanity URL.  When Jon did this 2 years ago he choose Facebook.com/socialrealtors.  This is indeed improper use of the trademarked word Realtor so The National Association of Realtors or NAR reached out to Jon about changing the URL.  After several failed attempts to get Facebook to change the ending or at the least just remove any vanity ending, they instead this morning took the page away without notice!

The NAR trademark office has emailed Facebook directly stating that it wasn’t their intention to break up the popular group, just to have the URL reworked so that it would be NAR approved.  As opposed to allowing a simple change to the URL they shut the lights off without warning?

This is a close to home example that Facebook has total control over their network and can hit buttons that make your hard work and community vanish, literally over night and without warning.  Make sure your social media presence is weather proof and always secure email addresses when possible.

Please help Jon out by sharing this post and helping spread the word about this story.  If they can hit a button and make it go away we are fairly confident they could hit another to make it reappear with a new compliant URL.  The more people that read and share this post the better the chances are that their decision could be reversed.  Thanks guys!

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  1. […] Think it can’t happen? Then take a look at this guy. He didn’t think it could happen to him either… “Well now we know who the boss is.  Facebook has shut down a real estate business page with 47,000 plus members giving zero notice to the page owner, Jonathan Rivera. The Official Real Estate Referral Group is a community that Jon started almost 2 years ago and had just crossed the 47,000 fan mark making it one of the largest real estate related pages on Facebook.” [source TechSavvyAgent.com] […]

  2. […] get the word out to help get his page restored. He asked different people to share a blog post by Tech Savvy Agent on their Facebook walls. It was amazing the number of people sharing his story. It showed up […]

  3. […] get the word out to help get his page restored. He asked different people to share a blog post by Tech Savvy Agent on their Facebook walls. It was amazing the number of people sharing his story. It showed up […]

  4. Proves no one should put all his/her “eggs” in one basket. I too mistakenly used “REALTOR” in a domain name and faced the NAR police.

    It would be nice if NAR used some of our money to protest banks’ disrespectful treatment of REALTORS’ in short sale transactions.

    Every REALTOR working short sales knows exactly what I mean.

  5. […] in July 2010 Facebook Shut Down The Official Real Estate Referral Group.  At that point the community had grown to 47,000 members.  Luckily some a of my good friends […]

  6. It’s amazing how quickly your hard work can be dimished into nothing. i am trying to think of a fan page right now, and I saw this article. It’s a good thing, I really need to think before I make my page. Good article.

  7. […] and the page was then shut down.  However after the post we wrote here on 210 and the one over on Tech Savvy Agent and a massive online effort by thousands, the page was reinstated & the URL was […]

  8. […] first step was asking people to help him out by sharing a Tech Savvy Agent blog post of his unfortunate story on their Facebook […]

  9. […] appeal to Facebook to have it revoked. There have been instances of Facebook removing entire pages like this one, including 47,000 fans, which had the word “realtor” (a word that’s trademarked […]

  10. John Smith says:

    I had a fan page with over 109,000 fans which Facebook just closed down. I am thinking of starting an anti-Facebook campaign. This is so unfair! I had put so much time and effort into my page.

    I will probably boycott facebook for orkut. Also, I will never ever invest my time into a fan page even if I keep one. I’m so upset and angry.

  11. Jessica M says:

    Yet another reason it’s a waste of money to pay your “Realtor” dues each year. The only real benefit is use of the word “realtor” which is trademarked and should NAR decided they don’t want you to have that any more you get literally NOTHING for your dues. I’m an independent agent (not a REALTOR) and PROUD of it!

  12. That is one of the major stumbling blocks to using social networking sites, and I am not sure what should be done about this issue. You never know when they are going to change a rule or decide to make a decision that impacts you negatively.

  13. I remember reading about this and felt so bad for the guy. I can’t imagine all the hard work that went down the drain!

  14. Sharon says:

    http://www.facebook.com/SocialRealtors

    is now Social Bulldogs Real Estate, so what’s up with that?

  15. […] all heard of Facebook shutting down popular Pages. Like the real estate page with over 47,000 fans. The issue was related to a legitimate trademark issue but Facebook refused the owners attempt to […]

  16. Shelby says:

    This happened to me too. While I was in college I wanted to use a fan page as a portfolio piece so I created a fans of New York Fashion Week page. Over two years I grew it to over 40,000 fans. One day, Facebook took it down and I do not know how to get it back up. Any tips?

  17. Anita Clark says:

    This is actually more common than people think, and is a real shame that social media sites really have no regard for consumers.

  18. Was this issue ever resolved? I know the NAR can be a stickler on their trademarks but you would think that FB could easily change the wording on the vanity URL and allow the page to stay up.

  19. Chris says:

    Has anyone found a more effective means of attempting to get help with a page that has disappeared/been removed?

    When I visit the URL it simply redirects me to my homepage, while if I change the URL it shows me a page not found error. This to me indicates the page is still there (as would be supported by the 14 day period before it is removed) but as an admin, I am not able to see it in my pages to change this. If it was unpublished I believe as admin I would still see the page and would still be able to view the page.

    I am stuck. Noone is able to view my page. It’s not accessible by me, and I know the 2 other admins (the actual business owners) would not have done such a thing. Having reported the issue and being over a week with no response from Facebook I am beginning to become desperate for other options, or answers. There was never even an e-mail received by any of us. What does someone do?

    From the looks of it, nothing… this is a rude awakening. I wish they would tell people this more clearly that if your businesses page simply disappears that they won’t be of any help, as I would not have spent the time or money I did in creating or promoting it. I wish I had something more to tell the owners than I’m doing everything I can to find out what happened…

    /Chris.

  20. […] risk of having their activities reported to Facebook and having their Pages shut down by Facebook. Just ask the owners of the page that had 47,000 Fans and were shut down. Think Facebook cares about a brand Page that has violated Facebook  rules and TOS? Think again. […]

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