This new verification system is now rolling out to Twitter as well, but despite having 3 months of testing on Facebook, it's run into some issues that are raising privacy and security concerns among some users.
I asked about this change in authentication for eBay support on Facebook in the weekly community chat:
There's been a shift in support offered through the eBay for Business Facebook page where they are now having sellers click a link to verify their account info instead of providing name, email, and zip code in a private message for verification.
I noticed that eBay support on Twitter is not using the new verification system and is still just asking for name, email and zip.
Why has this changed only on one support channel?
Customers may be leery to click on a link and log into their eBay accounts (for security reasons). What options would sellers have to still receive support from eBay on Facebook if they are not comfortable clicking on the link to verify?
Hi @valueaddedresource - I don't have any comment to provide on this at this point in time, but I have requested more information and will update you here when I hear back!
Whatever the reason for this very odd change in procedure only affecting seller facing support offered through Facebook, eBay seems to be keeping a tight lid on it for now.
I've found record going back at least as far as 2016 of eBay community reps redirecting sellers to Facebook for support, a trend that has only recently started to see a reversal as the wisdom of shuffling sellers to a competing marketplace has been publicly called into question.
Even Griff at the eBay for Business podcast seems to have gotten the message that users don't like to be directed off site for engagement and support.
Brian: I have one other suggestion. There are a lot of other ink cartridge sellers on the platform. And some of them must have dealt with this issue before. So one other option, Andrew is our sellers tend to be very friendly with information to others and you can always reach out to a seller and ask them. The other thing is we all have lots of people who do packaging on our site and sell packaging on our site. And they may have come across a seller who had this problem and they had to solve it. And so reach out to one of the sellers who sells packaging on our site and tell 'em your issue and see if they have a solution.
Griff: All right. And the best place to do that is on the seller board on community. Yes. And the second other place you can look for seller groups on Facebook, but we prefer the community cuz it's our real estate. So we like that.
eBay sellers have noticed an interesting new trend while trying to get support from the eBay For Business Facebook page - a reminder that they are on a third party platform and a new way to verify their account information.
eBay for Business on Facebook has been very helpful for sellers and I contact them frequently when there's an issue. For the last 3 days all the sellers are getting is an odd message that says Thank you for contacting us on our Social Media channel. We’re here for you any time. You are entering a third-party application, therefore we recommend you do not share any personally identifiable or payment-related information. We will be with you shortly.
Since when are they a third party and why are they not getting back to me shortly. It's been 3 days. Is eBay doing away with this helpful source of information?
Thank you for contacting us on our Social Media channel. We’re here for you any time. You are entering a third-party application, therefore we recommend you do not share any personally identifiable or payment-related information. We will be with you shortly.
In order to verify your account ownership and grant us permission to access your account, please click this link and follow the steps. This is our new account authentication process, you'll no longer need to provide us with your email and zip code, and you'll be routed back to us once that's complete.
I thought it was very interesting that this new authentication process appears to only be utilized by eBay on Facebook and even more interestingly, only on the eBay for Business support page which is geared specifically for support to sellers.
I sent a message to eBay for Business Facebook and one to the regular eBay page. I received an immediate auto-response from eBay for Business with the message about not sharing personal information, but did not receive the same message from the main eBay page.
That suggests to me this is likely not something Facebook has added or is requiring eBay to do - it is an intentional choice by eBay to set this auto-response and change how they authenticate user information to provide support for sellers.
Meanwhile, over on Twitter (also a third party application, though one that does not directly operate a competing marketplace), @askeBay is keeping up decent response times and still requesting name, email, and zip code to verify user details.
It's important to note that the same team of eBay reps covers both Facebook and Twitter social support channels - so the choice to handle this issue differently in each place is a bit odd to say the least.
Why the difference?
One community member made an astute observation:
Third Party = facebook
They don't want you to send them messages with personal information. When they reply to you it would likely be via eBay which is no longer a "third party application" and you can discuss confidential information as much as you like.
If you think a facebook pm is secure from prying eyes you are mistaken (the prying eyes being the 20 thousand people facebook employs to monitor activity on the site).
It certainly wouldn't be the first time eBay has had concerns about user info being used by a competitor to poach sellers from the platform, though in the most notable case, a competitor allegedly used eBay's own messaging system for this purpose.
Could it be that someone at eBay has finally woken up to the realities of the 800 lb gorilla in the room and realized maybe it isn't such a great idea to direct your seller base to a competing platform for support?