Breaking Promotion Guidelines? “Your Page has been unpublished and it cannot be published again.”

We’ve been long time advocates of abiding to Facebook’s guidelines for promotion through their platform, and you can ask many of our clients, friends, partners and team just how much. Many wondered why we were worrying about such things, “afterall everyone else is doing it”.

It appears that once again Facebook has begun purging the pages that have gone against it’s terms of use, promotion guidelines or warnings. We’ve seen reports from as far as New Zealand, from privately run fan pages, to agency-run pages… the one clear picture is that…

Pages of ALL sizes have been unpublished by Facebook, and they cannot be published again.

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Although there are MANY reasons why a page may be unpublished  we’d like to take this moment to once again remind you of the promotion guidelines for Facebook pages. Especially relating to promotions, competitions and interactive campaigns.

Let’s run through the promotion guidelines quickly… What you CAN do, what you CANT do, and a satirical example of How NOT to do it has been provided for free.

i.    Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
CAN: run promotions through a Facebook/Page application, hosted externally from Facebook.
CANT: run a promotion on your timeline, photo gallery, video gallery, page messages.
How NOT to do it: “Go to BigBadBrandPage’s Facebook Page and post a picture of your favourite book to win a penguin”

ii.    Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a.    A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b.    Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
c.    Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.
CAN: add the release to your  Promotion’s terms and conditions
CANT: pretend it’s being run by Facebook, or with Facebook, or… you get the picture.
How NOT to do it: “We’ve joined forces with Facebook to give away three Ostrich riding lessons”

iii.    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.
CAN: Like-gate, request a check-in or application connection
CANT: Ask user to sharing a photo, comment on a status update, invite friends, etc
How NOT to do it: “Share this photo and leave a comment to win this entire city, it’s people and their first-born”

iv.    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.
CAN: Ask the user to enter the promotion after the like-gate, check-in or application connection.
CANT: ‘Automatically’ enter the user into a promotion upon the usage of a Facebook feature
How NOT to do it: “When we reach 699 fans we will draw a winner for a hug and bucket of frogs.”

v.    You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
CAN: Run a voting-based competition with your own voting algorithm that matches the previous policies.
CANT: Claim that the most-liked comment, picture or video will win a prize.
How NOT to do it: “The photo with the most likes in this album will win a large trout.”

vi.    You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.

CAN: Request alternative contact methods
CANT: Contact winners, participants directly via Facebook’s communication channels
How NOT to do it: “Congratulations Charlie Brooker, you won our free parker pen. Please send us a message to find out how to claim your prize.”


So there you have it, we must clarify that just like everything else at Facebook, expect the Guidelines to change drastically over time, so don’t take this blog post as the only clarification as to whether your promotion is ‘legal’ on Facebook. Keep an eye on the Pages Guidelines and reach out to us for a consult if you’re very confused.

There are many ways to launch promotions on Facebook without ever risking your page being unpublished. We’re one of them, like a friendly face in the wild wild west. Let’s chat!

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