If you’re a Facebook user, you were recently forced to either allow Facebook to turn all the keywords in your profile’s Info tab into active connections to “Community Pages” or have them removed. Entirely removed. No middle ground.

That sucked. But it wasn’t even half the suck.

I had reluctantly said yes to community pages, not wanting the alternative of a blank profile. My naive assumption at the time was that Facebook was at least attempting to connect my listed bands, TV shows, movies, place of employment, schools, etc. to existing Fan Pages (or what used to be known as Fan Pages, but now you “like” instead of “become a fan.” Whatever.)

Today I saw a notice in my newsfeed that a co-worker at my company had “added Virante Online Marketing” to her employers. I clicked on “Virante Online Marketing” and was disturbed to see this:

Facebook's auto-created Virante "Community Page"

….instead of the actual Virante Page that we had created, carefully branded, populated with regular content, and begun to build up a fan base.

Apparently Facebook has taken the millions of keywords posted by users on their profiles and turned them into a whole new set of anonymous, blank “Community Pages.” Where in the world is the value in that? There is a link on our unasked-for Community Page inviting me to sign up to “help” with the community page if I “have a passion for Virante, Inc.” Yes, I have a passion…for the actual page I spent a lot of time creating and nurturing, the page that actually has something to do with Virante, Inc.! The invitation tells me that Facebook will “let [me] know when [they’re] ready for my help.” I can only hope that when they are ready, the first thing they’ll let me do is post a redirect on this fake page to our real one.

It gets worse. Each slight variation of the name of a company, band, etc. entered by anyone in their profile results in the generation of yet another Community Page. So far we have “Virante, Inc.” and “Virante Online Marketing” both out there because those are the wordings used by employees in their profiles. And sometimes the results are humorously ludicrous. One of my friends had listed his employer as “The Man.” So of course, Facebook blindly created a Community Page called “The Man“, which I notice pulls into its wall any post by anyone on Facebook that had the phrase “the man” in it. So useful!

I used to promote Facebook as a viable, indeed nearly necessary, marketing presence for companies or organizations. I am less and less sure of that. From the lack of flexibility in customizing your company’s Page to this current Community Page circus of a debacle of a travesty, I’m going to hold on that recommendation. But first I’m going to go change my Facebook hometown to “Life, the Universe, and Everything” so I’ll be “connected” to, well, everything. Doesn’t get more social than that.

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