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                   Friday, March 15, 2013 - 10:02PM CDT

Facebook is crippling pages without open advertising accounts

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LINK: Facebook help forum thread

Hopefully this post will help others solve a major headache. Part of my job is managing multiple Facebook pages for businesses and organizations, as well as two pages of my own. For the past couple of months, the admin functions of all of the pages I manage began slowing down. The problem worsened over the course of time, and several bugs began popping up.

I had the following issues:

  • Very slow page loading and admin function loading.
  • The posting dialog (the box where you type a status/add a photo, etc) was taking up to 30 seconds to load.
  • Posts took a long time to record, and the dialog would hang/lock up without displaying the finished post. I had to refresh the page to confirm that items posted.
  • Preview thumbails did not work for links and video links.
  • The 'schedule posts' button did not work (nothing happened when it was clicked)
  • Only the first 2 to 4 posts on a page would load.
I tried the following troubleshooting actions to no avail:
  • I tried opening the pages in every browser I had on my desktop pc, my laptop, my Android tablet and my phone (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE, Opera) to rule out a browser issue.
  • I disabled all browser plugins and add-ons.
  • I cleared my Windows hosts file to ensure no Facebook function was being blocked.
  • I used both my home cable internet and my cellular aircard connection to rule out an ISP-based problem.
The problem persisted. What was normally a quick 10-second post was taking 3 minutes or more every time, every day. Between all of the pages I'm responsible for, I make many posts a day, so this was a significant issue - particularly the lack of ability to schedule posts.

I finally posted a question to Facebook's help forums, which after about a week, revealed the source of the problem. Someone discovered that when you opened or re-activated your Facebook advertising account (which requires adding a valid payment method, either credit card or Paypal), the problems vanished. I tried the solution, and it worked for me.

While at least Facebook isn't requiring pages to actually spend money on ads to regain the functionality (for now), it's disturbing that they are apparently deliberately crippling pages for those who don't have active ad accounts.

The link above goes to the help forum thread on the issue. That will probably be taken down at some point, but I've archived the thread in case that occurs.

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