The new Facebook Pages (which I personally think are a nice upgrade) just made the workplace social media equation a little more complicated. Pages now act and feel like personal profiles and your organization’s Page can now post updates directly on other Pages’ Walls. The upgrade could be great for B2B networking, but it also enhances legal risks to Page admins and their organizations.

New Page Example: After logging in and upgrading the Page, I switched my Facebook access over to control of the Vonnegut Library (just click “Use Facebook as Page” under “Account” and it gives you a full list of the pages you admin).

Then I went to Nuvo‘s wall and posted a message. (Thanks Nuvo!) Rather than posting as Kenan Farrell, I’m now able to post as the Vonnegut Library.  For comparison, I also posted an update on Nuvo’s wall the “ol’-fashion” way, by tagging Nuvo in a status update.

While controlling a Page, the Notifications will be your Page’s notifications rather than personal notifications. The Friend tab will be all the folks who’ve “Liked” your Page.

You can see on the right in the image above, under the list of Admins, “Use Facebook as Kenan.” Facebook has made it extremely easy to switch back and forth between personal and business identities.

This upgrade goes a long way toward allowing businesses* to communicate independently of a particular individual’s identity. No longer restricted to their own Walls, Pages can go forth throughout Facebook and spread their unique message. Pages now allow organizations to more directly have a unified, branded voice in Facebook politics:

My caution to businesses…know your Page admins. Don’t give your company’s bullhorn to someone with whom you’ve had no discussion about communication strategy. Make sure they understand what is and isn’t appropriate to be saying on behalf of the company. Make sure they understand proper usage of trademarks, both yours and those of 3rd parties.

Admins must be increasingly mindful of which account they are posting from, especially since it is now so easy to switch back and forth between personal and business accounts (or switch to another unrelated Page account. I manage 8 accounts myself…what might be appropriate for one Page may not be from another). Defamation, privacy and securities lawsuits await the casual admin who makes personal comments from a business Page. FTC and unfair competition lawsuits await those who make business comments from a personal account (e.g. false testimonials, unsolicited endorsements).

Related note: be sure to have a CEO, owner or some other key employee listed as an Admin. With all the recent news about companies losing their domain names to wayward IT staff, you want to be sure you have a stake in your organization’s Facebook Page.

What do you think of the new Facebook Pages? A business communications boon or a legal minefield?

(*I use the term “business” broadly above. Read it to include most anybody who has a Page they’re using to promote a product or service.)