Velvet Burger, a gourmet burger bar started in Dunedin, built its loyal following of Facebook Fans to nearly 10,000. And just like ‘that’ they were “goneburger” when Facebook HQ deleted their page for breaking their rules.
You may have also heard Hell Pizza went the same way, losing its page and 20,000 fans along with it. Hell managed to get the page back through someone-who-knew-someone who worked at Facebook, but sadly, in most cases, if this happens to you, you’ll be starting at the drawing board.
These were both New Zealand companies, who yes do have a large following of fans, but that won’t stop Facebook from deleting your 200 or 800 strong fan page either. So how do you avoid the same fate? Well it pays to know the rules, and keep an eye on the rules too, as they can change as regularly as clockwork. And unfortunately for you, because you ticked a box agreeing to the terms and conditions, ignorance of the rules is no excuse.
As Facebook says: “We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason.” And they’re not kidding. Don’t think you’ll get a warning either! Poof! One day it could just be gone.
So what are the rules? There are Facebook rules that page admins break on a daily basis, included in the list of what you CANNOT do that follows are no doubt many rules you’ve been guilty of breaking.
Cover PhotoFacebook don’t want you to use your cover photo as an advertisement. Its premium real estate so it can be pretty tempting to use it as ad, but it’s a sure way to lose your page.
The RulesUse a unique image that represents your Page. This might be a photo of a popular menu item, album artwork or a picture of people using your product. Be creative and experiment with images your audience responds well to.
Cover images may not contain:
- Price or purchase information, such as "40% off" or "Download it at our website"
- Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page's About section
- References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
- Calls to action, such as "Get it now" or "Tell your friends"
PromotionsYou might begin to feel guilty as these rules are broken all the time. It doesn’t mean that they were made to be broken though; it’s these rules that caused Velvet Burger to lose their page and their fans along with it.
- Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App. Do not use your page to create wall promotions (see below for more details)
Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
- A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
- It may pay to have a statement in your promotions terms and conditions on your website and on the app page.
- Disclosure about who the participant is providing information to and that they are not providing their information to Facebook.
- 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.
- 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.
You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
- This gets broken all the time, e.g. the most likes wins
- You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
Common “Wall Promotions” that break the rules, because you’re using Facebook features and functionality to run the promotion, are:
- Share this (update /photo/video) to be in to win…
- Upload a photo/video …
- Every 25th new fan wins…
- Add a comment …
- Invite your friends to like our page …
- Answer this question …
- Photo with the most likes wins …
Data CollectionIf you collect content and information directly from users, you will need to make it clear that you (and not Facebook) are collecting it, and you will provide notice about and obtain user consent for your use of the content and information that you collect. Regardless of how you obtain content and information from users, you are responsible for securing all necessary permissions to reuse their content and information.
You cannot collect users' content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without Facebook’s permission.
If you are developing applications for Facebook make sure you comply with Facebook Platform Policies.
Page NamePage names and Facebook Web Addresses must accurately reflect Page content. Facebook may remove administrative rights or require you to change the Page name and Facebook Web Address for any Page that fails to meet this requirement.
Page names must:
- not consist solely of generic terms (e.g., “beer” or “pizza”);
- use proper, grammatically correct capitalization and may not include all capitals, except for acronyms;
- not include character symbols, such as excessive punctuation and trademark designations; and
- not include superfluous descriptions or unnecessary qualifiers.
Facebook AdsBefore you run Facebook ads, have a careful read through the Facebook Advertising Guidelines here. There are so many that it deserves its own article.
You should also read through the guidelines for yourself and decide if you are breaking the rules; this post is just a guide and a mere tip of the iceberg.