New Facebook rules for health & wellness groups
You may have heard the hubbub on social media, but there are new Facebook rules for health and wellness practitioners who host Facebook groups.
I want to share this information so you can be aware about what name you give your Facebook group and the content you post so you don’t get in trouble with Facebook for making medical claims.
Facebook is now cracking down hard on groups for making perceived medical claims and removing content from groups without advance warning.
Due to the election, you’ve probably noticed that Facebook is trying to limit certain content that is being shared in general. This extends into people making health claims.
What’s frustrating is that…
You might spend 30 minutes creating an image in Canva about how to eat for healthy skin – and you post it but later it’s gone and you don’t know why.
You may not even know that you’re crossing a medical line and so it feels unfair that Facebook took your content down (when all you want to do is educate and help.)
Your image might have flagged Facebook’s AI, but it was an error and you weren’t violating the policies at all.
Here are a few Legal Love Tips to help you navigate these new rules:
Legal Love Tip #1:
Be careful what you name your Facebook group.
Going forward, you may not want to put “health” or “wellness” in the name of your group.
Why? Because Facebook is “removing health groups from recommendations” of groups to check out. Here’s the reason Facebook gave:
“Facebook Groups, including health groups, can be a positive space for giving and receiving support during difficult life circumstances. At the same time, it’s crucial that people get their health information from authoritative sources. To prioritize connecting people with accurate health information, we are starting to no longer show health groups in recommendations. People can still invite friends to health groups or search for them.” (source: about.fb.com/news/2020/09/keeping-facebook-groups-safe/)
Honestly, I don’t love that they’re lumping all “health groups” together and treating them as if they’re not “authoritative sources” on health and wellness. It’s a bummer, but Facebook is allowed to make the rules about their platform. That’s just how it works.
Know that you don’t HAVE to change your Facebook group name if it’s about health and wellness. Just know that Facebook may not be suggesting it as a recommended group for people to join. You can still invite people personally to join it, but it may not pop up as a “recommended” group to check out on a non-member’s Facebook feed.
Legal Love Tip #2:
Don’t make medical claims.
If you’ve been part of my community for a while, then you probably know this already. Please don’t make medical claims or health claims by saying that your program can heal or reverse or cure any medical disease, condition or issue. You don’t even want to be addressing medical conditions or diseases directly in your program names or content.
Not only is it not legal to make medical claims, but it can be misleading for your clients (even if your goal is merely to help them.)
If you’re confused about what’s considered a medical claim and what isn’t – and it’s easy to be confused! – you can get clarity through my DIY Legal Master Class on How Not To Make Medical Claims – And What To Do Instead.
Legal Love Tip #3:
If Facebook removes content from your Facebook group, you can appeal.
If you notice that Facebook has blocked your image or content, you have the opportunity to contact them to see if it was an error. If you have an image removed from your group, you can appeal through Facebook right here.
(Note that it will show as correspondence about a “copyright violation”, but don’t worry about that – the link will get your question to the correct person for review.)
I want to give a special shout out to my friends and clients Kathleen LeGrys of Health Coach Biz Support and Alicia Streger of Fit Pro Essentials, both of whom run very successful Facebook groups for health coaches and fitness professionals, respectively. I respect them both so much and they’ve been on top of these Facebook group changes from the start, leading the way! Extra thanks to Alicia for her careful research around the appeal process. I asked her if I could share her recent post and she said YES!
Legal Love Tip #4:
Have an active Facebook group administrator.
You might have a designated Admin for your Facebook group, but what Facebook wants is that you have someone who is ACTIVELY monitoring your Facebook group. Sometimes an initial Admin may agree to fill the role but then get distracted or even disappear (life happens!), so you want to name an Admin who will be present in the group and engage with the community, rather than ignore the group conversations.
If you don’t have an active Facebook administrator, Facebook wants to help. They may actually suggest an Admin for you (usually someone who pops into the group a lot to comment) so you can tag that person (or someone else) to serve in this role.
But, be aware that Facebook is also declaring they have the right to archive groups without an active Administrator. Not sure if they will tell you in advance. Consider yourself warned!
Legal Love Tip #5:
Don’t host your content for your group program or online course on Facebook.
This tip is so important. Please don’t host your content for your programs on Facebook or on any social media platform.
Don’t put your course handouts or videos in the “Files” section or as links to posts. When you do so, know that you lose control of your content.
How? You’re subjecting yourself to the rules and whims of the social media platform. They have the right to take down your content anytime and even completely remove your Facebook page or group or block you from Facebook altogether. They can do this at any time.
A better idea? Use an online platform to host your content like Practice Better which is specifically designed for health and wellness practitioners (and is HIPAA-compliant) or Simplero which is what I’ve used since 2013. (These two platforms are my faves!! And yes, I’m an affiliate for both so in full disclosure, I do make a commission if you purchase through my links.)
Whew! I know that was a lot of info, but I always want to love you up with legal tips to protect and support your biz, including when you use social media.
Here’s to feeling more safe & secure on Facebook under these new rules!