In May of 2011, Facebook released (quietly, of course) new guidelines for brands using the platform. Here at The Randy Lane Company, we notified our clients of the new rules, and tried to help you understand them.
Fast forward 15 months, and you’re still asking about it. Not only are you asking about it, but many of you are still violating the rules. Often.
Before I keep talking, know two things:
- I don’t make the rules. I just tell you about them.
- Personally, I’m a rule breaker. So when I tell you to follow the rules, it’s because the ramifications are serious and I want to protect you. (Wow, I sound like such a Mom right there. Let the record show I don’t wear “Mom jeans”.)
Now that you understand where I’m coming from, and what kind of jeans I’m not wearing right now, let’s take a look at some of the rules and how radio stations and shows are violating them.
Rule #1: Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
For an example of a legal contest using an App, click here to check out the 102.9 K-Lite Match Game.
Rule #3: You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
How We’re Breaking It: We break it with our fun “caption this picture to win” contests. We break it with our “comment on this post” contests. We break it with our “The first five people who like this post win” contests.
Rule #4: You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
How We’re Breaking It: We run on-air contests that tell listeners we’ll draw one Facebook fan as a winner. The only requirement for entry is that they like us on Facebook.
Rule #6: You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
How We’re Breaking It: We post status updates to notify listeners that they’ve been chosen (probably for a promotion run illegally in the first place!) as the winner.
The rules can be found here in their entirety, under section “E”. But remember, don’t shoot the messenger! I just want to make sure you’re aware of what the rules entail.
Notice the simple threat below the rules: We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason. These terms are subject to change at any time.
That threat is the reason you should be wary of these rules. Should Facebook take notice, they have the right to shut your page down without a warning. That would mean that you lose everything you’ve worked so hard to gain- your fans.
Is it worth the risk?
Although “everyone’s doing it” might be your first reaction, remember that Facebook tends to make their changes without notice. So if they do decide to crack down on brands who are violating their TOS, you can guarantee you won’t know until it’s too late.
Do you post illegal promotions because everyone else is doing it? Or do you err on the side of caution? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo credit: Screenshot taken from a radio station wall post