An Argument Against a Digital Hero

argument against digital hero

Facebook is Cracking Down

In the age of hacking, Russian election interference, Cambridge Analytica and other social media abuses, having a well thought out social media strategy is important. And it may go against our recommendation for a “Digital Hero.”

The biggest concern that teams have mentioned is that someone can find out who runs an outreach Facebook page. As of right now, there is no way for an outsider to see what individuals run a page. While there is always the possibility of a “rogue” Facebook employee who leaks information, it seems to be a very unlikely event with a low probability.

The chance though of multiple accounts owned by one person, of impersonating another person, or breaking other terms of service being caught and a page being banned is beginning to grow.

Issues with using a Digital Hero

Issue 1: Not knowing Facebook’s Terms of Service

Facebook’s policy does not allow a person to have more than one personal account. Using a fake name, or multiple accounts with multiple email addresses goes against their terms of service. While it does not seem that it has been enforced much in the past, in recent months there have been several recorded instances of Facebook closing accounts or telling people to merge their accounts.

Issue 2: Logging into same account from multiple locations

When a person logs in to Facebook (even when using a VPN), Facebook can see the IP address and general geolocation of the user. If using a VPN it will show the IP and location that the VPN is using. When one team uses one account to do their Facebook work, then Facebook sees that multiple locations are logging in to the same account. If you ever travel for your ministry and log in to Facebook while someone else on your team is logged in from a different location, then you can see how this can be an issue. In light of recent scandals and hacks, Facebook is beginning to take notice of unusual activity like this.

Recommendation for not using a Digital Hero

If you want to prevent getting locked out of your Facebook account and having your page shut down, then use your personal Facebook accounts. Below are ways to better secure your account and page.

Manage your “Admin” roles

Not everyone on your team needs to be an admin. Consider using different “Page Roles” for different users on the page. These can be adjusted within the Settings area of the page.

Image result for Facebook's page roles
The five Facebook Page Roles and their permission levels

Read through Facebook’s Page Guidelines

These are always changing so it is smart to make sure that you are current on their guidelines. If your page is keeping within Facebook’s guidelines, then you stand very little risk of being banned or the page being deleted. Even if you are doing religious ads, there are ways to do it that does not go against Facebook’s policies and will allow your ads to be approved.

Check your personal privacy settings

Facebook has created a dedicated section for privacy settings (even when using mobile) that has shortcuts to review your settings, manage locations settings, control facial recognition, and determine who can see your posts. Check your personal settings to make sure things are set correctly.

Use a VPN

There are many VPN services out there. Find one that works best for you.

What are your thoughts?

While not every risk can be eliminated, following Facebook’s security recommendations, using a VPN, and staying within Facebook’s Terms of Service are a great way to start. Each team must determine their practice, but it may be in light of recent Facebook crackdowns that not using a fake profile nor a Digital Hero may be necessary.

What are your thoughts? What questions do you have? Just comment below.

7 thoughts on “An Argument Against a Digital Hero”

  1. Aside from the risk of a “Rogue Facebook employee”, another risk is that
    governments hostile to the gospel will demand that Facebook release to
    them the identity of the person running the controversial campaigns. In
    the past when governments have done this, Facebook HAS to release the
    identity of these individuals.

    1. Great input. What specific instances are you referring to when Facebook has released admin identities to governments against religious ads that do not go against Facebook’s term of service? I’m unaware of any documented cases, but I may be mistaken. Several current instances where governments are against certain ads (deemed against the government views, i.e. Russia) Facebook has not relented. This is one reason why they are not in China yet as well.And yes, it is possible to run religious-themed ads that do not go against Facebook’s terms of service.

      In instances where crimes have been committed, search warrants have been issued, etc., then I would guess that Facebook (and all other social media channels) will comply. In that instance then, the grandma of a worker whose identity is being used as a “digital hero” will be implicated.

      There are though specific laws even within the U.S. (for example California) which makes it illegal to use someone else’s identity on social media. While this is mainly intended to stop bullying, the law still applies.

      There is also the issue of people’s use of Google services (ads or other products) that also make it very hard for a person to truly remain invisible to the provider (i.e. Google) or a government if they truly want to find who a person or groups of people are. There are many areas where just one security slip or oversight will make a person or team visible.

      In the end, each person and team needs to balance the risks, and follow the best-known security practices both online and offline trusting and knowing that their ultimate security is in the Lord.

      Thanks again for the comment! Blessings to you and yours.

    1. Thanks for the video. After watching it, what was evident was that a potential felony offense (threating violence to a political figure in the US) was viewed and followed up on by the Secret Service. There is no evidence that Facebook gave up the person’s information. In addition, this was an individual (not a page with admins), and there are many ways that the US government can (and does) monitor social media posts for potential threats. Some of those methods are even documented online.

      It is important to see what potential risks there are in all places and avenues that we operate in sharing the Gospel, and one of those is doing things that may get a page banned not for being overtly Christian, but instead for not following terms of service.

      I (Jon) have still not seen any evidence of Facebook giving up group Admin identities, but I have already seen instances where good pages and people are being stopped from using certain social media channels because of impersonation and breaking terms of service. Regardless, it is important for each page and user to follow good security practices and know the risks regardless of whether they use a “digital hero” or not.

      Thanks again for your comment and work for the Lord!

  2. While the government requesting information is a possibility… the larger risk is someone getting a hold of someone’s laptop (possibly a local partner’s laptop)… and looking at the other admins of the page.

    1. Good point. Maybe an even greater risk is someone losing their cell phone which would possibly have sensitive information including email, cell numbers, GPS tracking info, and much more. Security is not an all or nothing equation, and if a Government has a worker on their radar then there are many areas of possible weakness and tools they may use.

      There are no risk free options for sure, which is why good internet security and vigilance are imperative.

  3. Pingback: Risk Management Best Practices for Media to Disciple Making Movements

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