16

I would like to create a professional Facebook account to interact with the people I work with and with potential clients.

What I fear is that potential future employers or clients find a professional account suspicious while having a personal account.

Is it badly seen to have a professional Facebook account? If not, is it considered rude to tell a professional that sends an invitation to your personal account "please add me on my professional account"?

EDIT : I need to create a professional Facebook account because I'm creating a company and meeting potential future clients to whom I give my name. Most of them add me on LinkedIn but some just add me on Facebook (I really don't see why either).

And as I don't want them to see my personal life and telling them "I won't accept your invite add me on LinkedIn" can be considered rude I want to create a professional Facebook account to fix that.

  • 58
    Any specific reason why you want a "professional facebook" instead of using a dedicated professional social media service like LinkedIn? – Erik Jun 12 '17 at 13:20
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    It's called LinkedIn ;) [Edit: @Erik you beat me to it...] – Kerkyra Jun 12 '17 at 13:20
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Jun 13 '17 at 22:39
46

I'd say it's unlikely to be suspicious. Even assuming you have both of them publicly visible (the people I know who have two accounts, will hide their private one to force business contacts to the other one) it seems pretty common for people to have two separate networks.

If anyone asks why you have two, just saying "I don't want to bother professional contacts with status updates about my cat" will almost certainly settle it for them.

Everyone has different expectations from a social media service, and especially if you use it for two purposes it really helps to have two accounts. In the end, Facebook decides what you see, not you, so having two accounts will ensure you have both fun-social content and professional content, rather than one drowning out the other due to what you interact with. Not mixing the two for your contacts is an added bonus for everyone; just as your colleagues don't care about your cat, it's likely your brothers don't care about your job details.

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    I tried to follow your advice. Now they are suspicious since they know I don't have a cat :( – user13655 Jun 13 '17 at 2:10
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    @DVK Sounds like it's time to get out there and get some cat – Mateen Ulhaq Jun 13 '17 at 3:50
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    @MateenUlhaq Just get a load of boxes. There's half a chance that a cat is in each box. (Source: Physics) – wizzwizz4 Jun 13 '17 at 6:27
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    I have a cat, this plan is flawless. – sh5164 Jun 13 '17 at 7:16
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    @wizzwizz4, Followed your advice. I made a Cat box openning video, got a few dead cat, and now Peta is at my door. – Drag and Drop Jun 13 '17 at 7:42
17

Have you considered getting a facebook Page instead? They are pretty much made for this purpose, and gives a much more professional impression than a personal account.

Having two "personal" accounts is not suspicious, but it is a bit annoying. I have a couple of contacts that does this - on one of them I am friend with both accounts, meaning for example I get two birthday notifications for her etc. Which account would you hide from search results? Regardless you will have to explain to a lot of people to use a different account. Denying someone access to one of the accounts can be seen as kind of rude.

  • 1
    This is what friends with small businesses use, or self-employed people. It's quite nice because you can control the link between business and pleasure, (a complete firewall may be appropriate in some fields, in others some cautious sharing is normal). It also saves messing around with different logins and the consequent chances of accidentally posting to the wrong account. – Chris H Jun 13 '17 at 8:24
  • @JanErikGunnar I don't know where you're from but in France I think it's kind of considered "cocky" since Facebook Pages are more related to celebrities than professionals – sh5164 Jun 13 '17 at 11:53
  • The "page" would be the way to go - you create it for your business. You can even invite your friends to "like" it to generate some buzz (if that's appropriate at this stage), and put the link to it on your business cards that you're handing out. (Throw the QR code to the "page" on there to make it easy for your new business contacts to find the correct version of "you" on FB.) – FreeMan Jun 13 '17 at 12:25
  • I am in Sweden. I don't think it's considered "cocky" here if you have at least some kind of legitimate business, and I doubt regardless of location, it would ever be considered any more cocky than referring your friends/connections to different accounts depending on how they know you – JanErikGunnar Jun 13 '17 at 15:20
16

In addition to other answers considering the professional impact, note that creating two Facebook accounts goes against Facebook Terms of Service, and also what you want to do is explicitly forbidden :

  1. Registration and Account Security

    • You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
    • You will not create more than one personal account.
    • You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.
  • 3
    Exactly what I've written, it's highly unprofessional to create account that break terms of use. – Danubian Sailor Jun 12 '17 at 19:02
  • I knew very few people who only have one Facebook account – Greenonline Jun 12 '17 at 19:27
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    Still good to know it goes against the rules, then again no one is going to check (I'm naughty I know) – sh5164 Jun 13 '17 at 11:52
  • @sh5164 I would hardly say "no one is going to check". What actually happens is an evildoer attacks the system. As they react, it dawns on the abuse team that they an algorithmically detect that MO. Out pops a list of 150K candidates, they flog out some obvious false positives, then drop the whole 147K in the grinder. Fragging you isn't a failure because you were violating. – Harper Jun 13 '17 at 16:23
14

There is a partial alternative solution provided by Facebook. You can add Facebook Friends to different lists, examples from my account:

  • Good Friends
  • Family
  • Restricted
  • [Area where I live]

The "Restricted" lists seems like a good fit for colleagues or bosses. It prevents them from seeing all activity except:

  • Posts you tag them in
  • Activity you change to Public
  • Posts you make as

You can still message Restricted Friends.

https://www.facebook.com/help/206571136073851#What-happens-when-I-add-someone-to-the-Restricted-list

  • 1
    Seems like a good solution, are people aware when you put them on "restricted" ? – sh5164 Jun 12 '17 at 18:36
  • @sh5164 I know at one time when I messed with groups the folks were notified. Not sure if that is true or not now. Test it out with a good buddy to be sure. – Mister Positive Jun 12 '17 at 18:37
  • @MisterPositive Ok I'll do, I'll edit my question with the result – sh5164 Jun 12 '17 at 18:39
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    It oughtn't notify friends. They might notice that you have no photos or posts if everything you've posted has been Friends Only. – Will Jun 12 '17 at 18:42
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    I would absolutely not trust Facebook to keep information away from the restricted group. – Kat Jun 12 '17 at 21:51
8

It depends what kind of work you do.

I am an engineer, so my "Professional Facebook" is my Linkedin, and this is the most appropriate social network for a more "strait-laced" job.

For other types of work a Facebook page is entirely appropriate. These tend to be work that is creative and/or dealing with the public. It is a good idea to use some kind of professional name, distinct from your personal account to avoid confusion. This is why Facebook has pages for "business" and "musician band." (and for "artist" too, I believe.)

Besides being an engineer, I am also a musician. My band has its own Facebook page and Youtube account. I don't have my own facebook Musician page, but if I was serious about being a solo artist, I would.

My sister is a freelance music teacher and craft fair organiser and has two separate professional facebook pages beside her personal one - one for each of her two businesses.

Bars have Facebook pages. Photographers have Facebook and Instagram pages. Even builders have facebook pages, in additional to their professional website (if any.) Even suppliers of engineering software have facebook pages, as an informal user community.

In summary, yes it is a good idea to have a facebook page IF it is appropriate to your line of work, but you should give it a name related to your work to avoid confusion with your personal page.

3

"Professional" Facebook account? I wouldn't necessarily deem it as suspicious, but as the others have mentioned, it's rather superfluous in light of the fact that LinkedIn is the de facto site for professional social media.

To add to that, Facebook frowns on multiple accounts. You may invest lots of time on said "professional" account, to end up having it get closed by the powers-that-be.

Lastly, I subscribe to the old adage of not mixing business with pleasure. If strictly-professional contacts are sending friend requests to your personal Facebook account, decline them. I'd bypass this idea of multiple accounts entirely, for the simple fact that there are things in my personal life that my professional contacts just never need to have access to. I'd hate to toy with the very high risk that with multiple Facebook accounts, I'd eventually mix them up and post the wrong content to the wrong account; even though it can be deleted later, the exposure cannot be, and as we see in the news each day, the consequences can be severe.

  • 1
    At least in the UK, it depends greatly on the business which site is defacto. I have engineer friends on LinkedIn. I also have friends who are artists, fencing instructors, have businesses making clothing or are magicians or musicians and they all have business facebook pages in addition to their personal facebook pages. I would never look for any of those businesses on LinkedIn. – Pete Kirkham Jun 13 '17 at 11:24
  • It's also nice for "artists with day jobs" so they can be a musician on Facebook and an ad-agency manager on Linkedin. – Harper Jun 13 '17 at 15:49
3

I think employers will find it concerning

Employers and recruiters are screening you for scary stuff on your social media -- and they know you know they're looking. Their minds are not on innocent reasons you might do this. When they see two accounts, it looks like concealment: it looks like gaming their screening process. Which they see all the time.

In their world, the simplest explanation is the most likely. Occam's Razor: you're a baddie.

You will need to overcome that bias, and that will depend on their willingness to spend extra time to let you.

The nagging question in their minds will be "why did you do that", when you could've just had accounts on two different social media platforms like everyone else... i.e. a Facebook account for personal and a Linkedin account for professional.

Facebook will be actively hunting you

It's a violation of Facebook TOS to create two accounts. Most of the time these accounts are for sockpuppeting or other system abuses, and Facebook is on the hunt for them. If both of them have your correct identity, that makes you stupid-easy to catch.

Do you really know how to do a browser cookie reset? Clear local storage? Flash storage? It's a constant arms race, as developers try to come up with "supercookies" you can't easily clear. How about IPv6? I'm good at this stuff and I continue to be astounded when I see a highly targeted ad after I was sure I reset everything. Forget about apps - on most phones, Facebook app functionality is too deeply woven into the phone's OS to be able to reset.

Most of the time, account bans are highly arbitrary, because the abuse team is regularly deploying various detection methods, and they just happen to catch you. The account will suddenly just be gone, with no advance notice and no reason why. This can be devastating if you lose a Page or other feature because you are the only admin.

Macs support multiple users (PCs too I hear) and thats probably as good as you'll get for defeating cookies, supercookies etc. But still, same IP address, same first and last name, same birthday, etc...

It confuses your friends

They will search for you and get two hits. With luck, they'll try to befriend both of you. This will be even worse if you falsify some info on one account. They will be confused when you ask them to "please friend my personal|professional account instead" (you're doing the weird thing so you need to do the legwork). Keep in mind, most people let Facebook scrape/surveil their email and contacts, so they'll connect to you via the email they have.

You are probably better off being outbound and friending them first, or answering their friend request with your own friend request from the correct account.

It will confuse you

And you will get confused yourself. You will find yourself on the wrong account all the time. Like I say, switching without being detected is super tricky. You may be better off using one Facebook account always on one device, and another always on another device. Or a different user login on your PC.

Officially Not On Facebook

I've seen it work when the person is Officially Not On Facebook, but has a secret account for utility reasons (e.g. perhaps he runs Facebook ads). He uses a sensible pseudonym and he only tells people who need to know. They understand that his presence is only for utility, not for being social - so they don't engage him socially. It's still a TOS violation, but given their low usage they are unlikely to be caught.

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