Whenever you connect a Facebook or Instagram account to Social Media Management, Meta grants Brandwatch access tokens for our platform to access information from your social account. Meta’s security policies may trigger a token to expire for a number of reasons, resulting in your channel being disconnected from Social Media Management. By becoming familiar with the potential reasons for an account to disconnect, you can plan for occasional channel disconnections and learn what steps you can take to prevent them.
In this article:
Reasons for Facebook and Instagram account disconnection
Best practices for preventing disconnection
- Reconnecting disconnected accounts
Reasons for Facebook and Instagram account disconnection
Authentication token limits
Brandwatch is able to pull information from your social accounts into Social Media Management with the help of authentication tokens, which are granted to Brandwatch after you authenticate, or “connect,” your social channels. Brandwatch uses both User tokens and Page tokens to authenticate your Facebook account (i.e. Facebook profile) to gain permission to access the Facebook Page(s) associated with the account, and any respective Instagram account(s) connected to your Facebook Page(s). Visit Meta’s Developer help center for technical details on access tokens.
After you authenticate your Facebook account, Social Media Management will not access any information associated with your personal Facebook profile. We only require permission to your profile to access the Facebook Pages associated with your account.
Authentication tokens are in place for Meta to regulate security on the third-party tools you connect your social accounts to. An authentication token may expire or become invalidated for a number of reasons, which can result in your account being disconnected from Brandwatch. For example, User tokens have specific expiration dates and Meta may require you to reauthenticate your account on a periodic basis for security, such as every 60 days. If you are not active on a social account, Meta may detect the inactivity as a security concern and invalidate the access token sooner. Tokens may also be invalidated as a result of occasional disruptions with Meta’s service, such as downtime on the native network or API changes. Or, Page tokens can become invalidated due to a change you initiated with your account, such as a password change, permission change, or user change.
Although it can be difficult to identify the exact reason an authentication token was invalidated and resulted in your channel disconnecting, below are some of the most common reasons.
Meta’s security policies may initiate a channel disconnection whenever suspicious activity is detected with your Facebook account, such as a login from an unrecognized IP address, device, or browser, or inactivity with your social account.
Facebook can actively detect and disable connections with pages that are not associated with a “real” user. As a result, all Facebook Pages should be associated with a real personal Facebook profile and we do not recommend creating a dummy or test profile (e.g. a profile named “Social Media Management Tester,” etc.) to connect your page(s) to.
When connecting Instagram channels, it is required for your Instagram account to be linked to a Facebook Page. If you do not have an active Facebook Page, it is possible to create a dummy Facebook Page for the purposes of linking your Instagram account to it. This does not pose the same security risk to Facebook as having a dummy Facebook account (i.e. personal profile). See our instructions on Connecting Instagram Channels for more information about this requirement.
If your team is accessing your social accounts via shared logins (e.g. if multiple people are logging in using a shared email/password), we recommend that you do not connect your channel to Social Media Management using this login information. Rather, you should connect channels using login information that only you have access to. Instead of using a shared login, we recommend that an administrator of the Facebook Page grant other users Full Control access to the Facebook Page via your Business Account settings.
Your team may be successful in connecting a channel with a shared login to Social Media Management. However, once the social network becomes suspicious or concerned with the security pertaining to the shared login information, the channel could become disconnected unexpectedly. Similarly, if the shared login was used to connect multiple channels, they could all become disconnected.
We highly recommend enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) for your Facebook Business Manager account to increase the security of your account and reduce the risk of Facebook detecting suspicious activity. With two-factor authentication enabled, you set up an extra layer of security for your account to help Meta identify you as the account owner whenever you make changes.
Depending on your business, Facebook may require two-factor authentication for your account and your Social Media Management channel may disconnect until it is set up. Visit Facebook’s help center for more information on setting up two-factor authentication for your Facebook account.
Meta is more likely to flag and disconnect accounts where there has not been activity on the account for more than 30 days. Make sure to stay active on your social account(s) so Meta associates the account with a “real” user.
Password or permission changes to your Facebook account
If an Admin of a connected Facebook or Instagram account changes the account’s password, a disconnection from Social Media Management can occur. While it’s a good practice to update your passwords regularly for security, please note and plan accordingly that changing the password to your social account after you’ve connected it to Social Media Management may result in a disconnection. If your channel isn’t disconnected immediately after a password change, we recommend that you proactively refresh the channel in your Social Media Management settings to prevent a potential disconnection.
In addition, you must grant Brandwatch all applicable permissions in your Facebook account when connecting your Facebook channel to Social Media Management. If you remove or uncheck any permissions granted for the Brandwatch business integration with your Facebook page, your channel may be disconnected. Please see the troubleshooting steps in our Connecting Facebook Channels article to check and edit the permissions you have granted to the Brandwatch business integration in your Facebook account.
For a seamless experience when connecting your channels, we also recommend checking off and granting Brandwatch access to all Facebook Pages connected to your Facebook account. This action does not actually connect all of your pages to Social Media Management, but will give you permission to connect those pages as channels in Social Media Management should you or your team wish to do so in future.
User change to your Facebook or Social Media Management account
The following user changes can result in a channel disconnection if that user was managing a Facebook and/or Instagram channel for your organization:
- The user’s permissions for the Facebook Page are edited or removed.
- The role of the user who connected the channel in Social Media Management is edited from Administrator to another role (e.g. Administrator to Editor).
- The user is deleted from your Social Media Management organization.
In the event that this happens, you will see a “Connected by: [undefined]” note in the channel’s Audit History.
Take care when planning to edit or delete users in either your Social Media Management organization or your social accounts so your team can prepare for any associated channel disconnections. We recommend that your organization have a transition plan in the event that one of your team members leaves your organization and you must transfer ownership of the Facebook account and/or Page to another user. See our best practices below for designating back-up Admins to your accounts to plan for any team changes that may occur in your organization.
Native network disruptions
Brandwatch connects with social networks via an application programming interface, or “API,” which is a piece of software that allows two applications to connect to one another. From time to time, social networks may experience either planned or unplanned breaks in service, which can result in your channel disconnecting from Social Media Management.
While we can't account for outages on the native networks, we do endeavor to notify Social Media Management administrators via our status page when API interruptions occur and when service is restored so you can reconnect your channels as soon as possible. We also strive to keep you informed about planned API changes so you can prepare for any reconnections needed to minimize the impact to your team’s daily workflow.
Best practices for preventing disconnection
Unfortunately, we can’t prevent every channel disconnection, such as those due to Meta’s token limitations or service disruptions. However, you and your team can minimize some common reasons for disconnections by following a few best practices in Social Media Management.
Be familiar with Meta's authentication requirements
To protect your social accounts, Meta has strict guidelines for authenticating and integrating Facebook and Instagram accounts with third-party tools like Brandwatch. We recommend keeping the following checklist in mind when setting up your Facebook and Instagram accounts and planning to transfer ownership of your accounts between team members.
Requirements for Facebook account authentication in Social Media Management:
- Your personal Facebook account must have Full Control access to the Facebook Page via the Meta Business Suite.
- During setup, we recommend that you grant the Brandwatch business integration access to all of the Facebook Pages linked to your Facebook account (even if you don’t plan to connect them all to Social Media Management). You must also enable/check all available permissions for the business integration, or else your page will not authenticate.
Requirements for Instagram account authentication in Social Media Management:
- The Instagram account must be a Professional account (e.g. a Business or Creator account).
- The Instagram account must be linked to a Facebook Page that has already been connected to Social Media Management.
Please visit our articles on Connecting Facebook Channels and Connecting Instagram Channels to familiarize yourself and your team with Meta’s full authentication requirements prior to connecting your channels.
Refresh your channels regularly
If your channel has been connected for a long time, Social Media Management’s connection to your channel via the network API may become faulty. In such cases, your channel may not instantly become disconnected, though you may experience minor issues such as post publishing errors or missing comments. Over time, your channel may eventually become disconnected if not refreshed periodically.
Since we regularly update our platforms, we recommend that you aim to refresh the connection of your channels every 2-3 months to keep your channel authentication fresh and minimize connection issues. Refreshing channels is a quick process that any Social Media Management Administrator or Team Leader can do. Visit our article on Refreshing Channels for specific instructions.
Designate back-up administrators for your social accounts
To plan for team changes in your organization, we recommend that you have a transition plan in case you need to transfer Administrator permissions or ownership of your social account(s) to another team member.
Any back-up users you designate to connect a Facebook channel will need to be added as a user with Full Control access to the Facebook Page via the Meta Business Suite, and they will also need to be an Administrator or Team Leader with access to the channel in Social Media Management.
Reconnecting disconnected accounts
In the event that one of your channels disconnects in Social Media Management, the user that connected the account will receive an email notification and see a Disconnected notice beside the channel in their channels list. This means that Brandwatch has lost access to the page and can no longer index content for it until the channel has been reconnected. To reconnect a channel to Social Media Management, please follow the steps below:
- From Social Media Management's left-hand navigation sidebar, click on the Settings (cog) icon > Channel admin.
- Find the disconnected channel in your Channels list and click Reconnect to the right of the channel.
- When prompted via the pop-up screen, log into the native network and accept any authorization requests.
- When redirected to Social Media Management again, you’ll see this channel already selected under the heading New and Disconnected Channels. Check the box beside the channel (check off multiple boxes to connect channels in bulk) and then click Connect Channel(s).