Facebook promotions (i.e., contests and giveaways) have guidelines businesses and individuals must abide by. I wrote about the Facebook Promotions Guidelines in 2011. I included a copy of the main points of the guidelines and explained how to interpret those points. I also explained out that you could lose your page if you fail to adhere to the guidelines. Responses then and now, privately and publicly, include questions about whether Facebook is really monitoring fan pages for violating the promotions guidelines. Usually, Facebook relies on others to alert them to an issue where someone is violating the terms of service or promotions guidelines. However, there are cases of Facebook business pages being deleted in India, and now a Facebook business page in New Zealand has also been deleted.
“So what?” you say. Those pages are on the other side of the world and it’s not happening in the US. Although I haven’t seen any pages being shut down in the United States, the fact that Facebook deleted a New Zealand page leads me to believe it won’t be too long before US pages come under scrutiny. Why? Because any time Facebook wants to try out a feature that is almost ready for mainstream US, they release it in beta in New Zealand first. I’ve seen this with a few things: New Zealand saw Timeline before the US, Facebook launched a new app called Pages Manager down under, and Facebook is currently testing its Highlighted Posts option in New Zealand. Now that Facebook is paying attention to and shutting down pages for violating the Facebook Promotions Guidelines, I wonder how long it will be before Facebook fan pages in the United States will also be more vulnerable.
The page in New Zealand that was shut down lost 9,500 fans and all of its content because it was running a promotion that asked people to Like their page to be eligible to win a portion of the largest lottery jackpot in that country’s history. A similar promotion ran in the US in April, 2012. I was disappointed to see at least two Facebook experts touting this Facebook giveaway as “a great way to get MASSIVE engagement on Facebook!” and “a fantastic contest” when, in fact, that giveaway was blatantly not following the Facebook Promotions Guidelines.
Unfortunately, I see these kinds of promotions on Facebook all the time. I usually ignore, or, if I know the company running the promotion, I contact them privately. I think most businesses just don’t know about the Facebook Promotions Guidelines or understand them. I try to educate when I can, and if you’re my client, I’m adamant that we follow the guidelines. There’s a certain level of responsibility that comes with advising others.
If you’re running a Facebook contest or giveaway, please be sure you’re adhering to the Facebook Promotions Guidelines. Don’t risk your page, your content, your fans, and your brand reputation by taking the easiest route — especially with the excuse that “everyone else is doing it.”