Business ‘crippled’ by stunning Facebook act
TECH giant Facebook is crippling the sales of a Gold Coast small business after it disabled its Ads Account with no explanation nearly four weeks ago.
Over the past 10 years Grahams Natural Alternatives in Nerang has spent an estimated $300,000 on Facebook and Instagram advertising in order to market its products and reach customers.
But last month Shannon and Geoff Graham logged into their Facebook account to discover they'd been banned from creating and publishing paid advertisements - the lifeblood of most online businesses.
"Our sales were down 30 per cent last month and it's directly related to not being able to promote our product through Facebook and Instagram," said co-founder and owner Shannon Graham.
"We're also unable to communicate and educate our 30,000 customers, it's just crippling our business and no one is able to tell us what we've done wrong.
"We are very careful with our content and have never breached the guidelines or had our account suspended or a complaint for any reason.
"One day we're fine and the next we've been completely blindsided - Facebook has way too much power."
Mrs Graham said the company's Facebook and Instagram pages were still accessible by the public, but the social media giant's algorithms made it virtually impossible for followers to see posts organically, which is why brands must paid for sponsored content.
Geoff Graham said while a $5000 monthly spend wasn't huge, it yielded incredible returns for family-owned business, that's been operating for 20 years.
"We're about to launch a new product in time for summer, a sunscreen, but we've effectively been banned from launching it into the online market," he said.
"We know we're not spending $200,000 a year like many big businesses, but for us it's still a sizeable amount each and every month."
Ahead of the massive online sales in November, Click Frenzy and Black Friday, the Graham's have resorted to spending money on Google Ads.
They've also set up a TikTok in a desperate attempt to reach consumers and claw back some of their lost revenue.
In another blow to the business, sales for 2020 were anticipated to be the best on record after they generated 100,000 new online consumers throughout the year, and that figure was set to double during December.
"We just want to know why they've disabled us, whether it's something we've done wrong or whether there's something else to it like a security reasons, we think we deserve to know," said Mr Graham.
"It seems silly for them to be not wanting to get our money - it's like they don't care."
Mrs Graham said it was extremely frustrating as they could see their competitors freely marketing on Facebook and they were worried they would lose their market share.
Despite dozens of emails, phone calls and personal messages to Facebook, the business has been told by personnel in the Philippines that it could take up for seven weeks for their case to be heard.
"We have tried contacting Facebook pretty much every day and they just say you are in a queue. But for how long, this is our livelihood we're talking about."
Facebook has been approached for comment.
Originally published as Coast business 'crippled' by stunning Facebook act