Private Messaging and the New Facebook Fan Page Timeline

I enabled my page for the new design as soon as it came out because I was overly curious about what all the new options could do and of course what it would “really” look like.

With-in several hours of migrating the page to the new format I got several enquires, I won’t call them spam, but they were business solicitations from businesses that had set up personal profiles (tsk tsk) asking me if I was interested in buying XYZ, or did I want to outsource any work to India. I get enough of that by phone and email and thought, “what the heck was Facebook thinking when they enabled this, I wonder if there is a way to turn this off?”

After poking around in the help section for a few minutes I discovered that you can turn it off:

From FB Help

How do I turn off the private message button for my Facebook Page?

  • From your Page, click Edit Page in the upper-right corner
  • Select the Manage Permissions tab in the left sidebar
  • Uncheck the box next to People can send messages to [your Page name] in the Messages section

For Pages with the new timeline design:

  • Open your Page’s admin panel
  • Click Manage
  • Select Edit Page
  • Select the Manage Permissions tab in the left sidebar
  • Uncheck the box next to People can send messages to [your Page name] in the Messages section


This makes me wonder if big businesses when having a issue or making a social media major faux paux are going to better off disabling this option when it happens or keeping it enabled.

Think about it. Miffed customers messaging a business (Like the Susan Komen fiasco)  in the thousands through private messaging vs posting on a wall. You really think people will get even more annoyed and then post on the wall anyway with even more venom, if their message is ignored. And who would be responsible for responding anyway? You would need a huge group of customer service reps watching every single post for a misstep.

Revinate posted a blog yesterday

In which I thought they made an interesting comment: “You now have the ability (to) privately message people. If you’re using Revinate and find mentions of your hotel or restaurant through Social Media Searches, you now have a great tool to reach out. But do so with caution as many people likely don’t realize that their page is set to public. Private messages will also allow you to take engagement off your page, which should help it appear less cluttered.”

I think is Revinate is great for hotels and was a little surprised by the comment. What pings me about Revinate’s comment specifically is, “Private messages will also allow you to take engagement off your page, which should help it appear less cluttered.” I personally think that taking the engagement OFF your page is a major mistake, because while you and the person messaging you are getting information back and forth, the rest of the general public who might wander over or be driven to your page will not see the engagement, which is entirely the point of having a “public” page in the first place. While it might be great to take care of issues better off aired in private, it also hides the, “Loved staying at your B&B this past week, it’s a beautiful place.”

Personally from a business perspective I think the messaging ability is great. Most fan pages probably won’t get much spam in there, “I say this with my fingers crossed”, and will instead find it useful for communicating with fans/former guests and future guests. I’ve kept in enabled and will just ignore more solicitations if I get them. One does have the option of “reporting as spam” or “reporting the conversation”. I do hope that it will just be used for personal things like complaints or issues and perhaps handling information like someone letting an inn know they have a food allergy.

I would highly recommend if you have a fan page and ignore it and visit it once in a blue moon that you DO turn this feature off, I tend to think nothing would irritate a person even more then posting on your wall and not getting a response, is actually messaging you and not getting a response. In regards to being messaged about a food allergy for example, be sure your active (or at least paying attention to your page) or else turn it off.

It will remain up to individual businesses to see whether having the messaging option enabled or not works for them.

If you found this article useful we always appreciate a fan on our own Fan page (we spend most of our time on twitter so we promise we won’t bombard you with updates)



About Chef Forfeng

Innkeeping Tip and Tricks: Please check out some marketing ideas for Inns and B&Bs, Blogging ideas, Facebook Tips and Social Media Tutorials
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10 Responses to Private Messaging and the New Facebook Fan Page Timeline

  1. Jim says:

    So if I go in and disable the messages on my page will it leave the messages that are currently there or will those get zapped too? I have about 100 messages on my page that one of my admins was supposed to be handling but they gave up and now I’m scrambling. I still have messages coming in which gets frustrating.

    • Chef Forfeng says:

      If you turn the message button off, it will hide the already sent in messages in your admin section but they are not gone, if you click on “see all” at the top right of the message they come up.

  2. Alun says:

    I don’t have an “Edit Page” option on may page. Why is that then?

    • Chef Forfeng says:

      Hi Alun, they changed how the page access was laid out since I wrote this back in March, to get to where you need to be, in the admin panel that appears in the top when you log into your page, go to edit page, and then Manage Permissions. The options to check or uncheck the message feature is right in the middle of the page then.

    • Denise says:

      I am having problems receiving PM’s and am not able to find the admin panel and edit page?? I have the newest version of FB and would really like help turning this on if could help please! Thanks so much!!

    • Chef Forfeng says:

      Denise, not sure what you mean by the newest version of FB, it changed settings but didn’t change to a new version. If you go up to your admin panel on the top of the page and click on “edit page” and then “update info” it will take you to another screen. Then click on the option to the left that says “Manage Permissions”, in the middle of the gray box there is an option that can be checked that says “Show “Message” button on -Your page” . If you don’t see an option anywhere to edit the page you may not have admin access or it maybe author only access.

  3. Hi. Great post. I just wanted to clarify what I meant in my post about taking conversations off-line. I agree that you definitely want the public to know that you’re engaging with guests and prospects on social channels. But I don’t know that everyone needs to see a reservation being made, from start to finish. So I would suggest publicly saying, “Saw you’re looking for a Chicago hotel. I am going to PM you to see if we fit the bill, which I’m hoping we do.” What do you think? Does that make more sense or do you still disagree? Would love to know!

    • Chef Forfeng says:

      Thank you for expanding on what you talking about! I agree something like that would be better offline but with a soft approach. I’m a big fan of the soft sell. 🙂 I understand Daniel Craig is going to be working with you guys closely. That’s terrific to hear!

  4. I was thinking about turning this feature off as I have no intention of messaging people – now I won’t bother unless I get spammed!

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