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Written by
Katy Ratican
2 Jun 2021
4 minutes
How to delete reviews on Facebook (and when)
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With 97% of consumers using online media to shop locally, many small to medium-sized businesses depend on good reviews to bring in local customers. Naturally, many businesses are afraid of bad reviews or critical social media posts.

It can happen to anybody – maybe a trainee had a learning experience with the wrong customer, or maybe the customer was just having a bad day. Either way - they are now posting maliciously about the business.

To make things worse, business owners are not allowed to simply delete negative reviews from Facebook. This may be frustrating in the moment, but how else could their review system maintain any degree of integrity? Not to worry.

In this article, we will cover one way that you are protected. Facebook’s community standards allow you to report reviews for several more than valid reasons.

Understanding the difference between upset and unreasonable

Before we dive into how to remove unpleasant comments, we have to know which ones are which. Just because a review is negative doesn’t mean it has to be bad for business. When the grievance is legitimate, it provides businesses with an opportunity for feedback, improvement, and to provide excellent customer service.

There is always value to be had from a customer genuinely telling you about their experience with your company. Businesses invest in assets with the single goal of obtaining this information, so take advantage and learn.

Offering reparations in the form of free services and perhaps throwing in some complementary services is a fairly reliable way to turn the situation around — so long it’s done from a place of genuine desire to resolve the situation (i.e., not a bribe to remove a bad review). Use your best judgement as to what measures are appropriate for the situation.

There may be times however when you do come across the minority. Those dreaded, sometimes unreasonable customers who for whatever reason (that likely has nothing to do with your business) will never be appeased.

Luckily, they tend to sink themselves when posting online. With a little knowledge about how Facebook’s community Standards relate to reviews, you don’t have to worry.

While the inability to just delete unpleasant reviews does seem to leave business owners vulnerable, you can still report abusive or fraudulent reviews. Facebook will remove any content that is deemed to be any of the following.

  • Hate speech – Facebook defines this as any kind of attack directed at what they call ‘protected characteristics. These include race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, sex, disability and many more. If you are having a problem with a review and the person is posting abusive material like this, that will be more than enough for you to report it and have it removed.
  • Misrepresentative – There is one definition that can be particularly helpful for business owners. If a user is being wilfully deceptive to damage a business for personal gain, then this is a violation of Facebook’s community standards.

In other words, it means if somebody is lying about an experience to gain pleasure from damaging your business — let’s say, you suspect a competitor, ex-friend or adversary is behind the review — you can report it. The only problem is that it can be difficult to prove it.

  • Bullying, cruelness and insensitivity are all subject to removal for violation of community standards as well. It can be well worth your while to know these definitions.

How to report a Facebook review

If you are satisfied that the reviewer violates Facebook’s community standards, then you are well within your rights to report them. Just navigate to the review.

From there you will select the dropdown options by clicking on the three dots to the right of the review.

Scroll down to ‘Give feedback on this review.’

A window will pop up with bubbles containing different reasons for reporting. Select the most relevant description and click the ‘send’ button to submit. Facebook will review your feedback, make a decision and get back to you.

As mentioned before, don’t panic. Successful business is often about making the best of a bad situation. Some of the most valuable feedback you will ever get for your business could come from a negative review. It’s up to you what you do with it.

Finally

It is generally a rare circumstance that a reviewer is going to be completely inconsolable, and it is advisable to respond to your negative reviews and turn them around. Ultimately you are going to have to rely on your judgement and professionalism to get you through tough situations like these, but there’s more you can do.

You can use good foundational knowledge of social media, including Facebook’s community standards to protect you and your company. Knowing when and where to draw the line can save you thousands in lost business and prevent one bad apple from damaging your reputation.

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