It feels like I’ve been banging on about Facebook terms and conditions for years.
Oh wait, I have been banging on about Facebook’s terms and conditions for years.
When I work with clients and they use Facebook as part of their communications strategy, I’ll make sure they know about the rules that govern Facebook. And when I deliver a training session, I’ll outline the T&Cs that, if broken, will get you into a lot of trouble.
Two rules I always highlighted related to 1) cover images and 2) competitions in status updates.
This year, Facebook has thrown both of them out the window.
Cover images had their rules relaxed a few months ago, as outlined in my post Facebook Covers, the good, the great, the ugly.
And today comes the news that Facebook will relax its rules around competitions (which it calls ‘promotions’) in status updates.
According to Facebook:
“We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps. Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:
- Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
- Collect entries by having users message the Page
- Utilize likes as a voting mechanism”
This is both extraordinary and not surprising at the same time.
Extraordinary because professional Facebook page managers / community managers have been striving to meet that rule for years. Facebook app development companies like Offerpop, Shortstack, North Social and Wildfire have thrived because of that T&C. Digital agencies around the world have billed clients to build Facebook competition apps to stay on the right side of Zuckerberg law. Not required anymore. Thank you.
Extraordinary because I always assumed Facebook wanted to keep competitions out of status updates because it had some standards. Standards around collecting data for competitions, sharing comp T&Cs, and generally not having Facebook become a Wild West of ‘Like to win a new ironing board!’ and ‘Like this photo of a duckling to win a pair of new fluffy slippers, *pick up only’.
Not surprising because a helluva a lot of people flouted the rule! Every day I saw company pages running ‘like to win’ competitions through status updates (mainly smaller businesses, but not always). This was immensely confusing to other businesses, who then took that lead and published their own ‘like to win’ updates (because nobody reads the terms and conditions first, right?)
So maybe Facebook gave up? Maybe it was tired of all the complaining. Maybe it realises brands are getting tired of all the ‘boost post’ messages it’s pushing out, and it’s decided to give a little bit back.
What happens now?
I’m waiting for the competition floodgates to open.
I’m waiting in particular for retailers, manufacturers and anyone with a pile of stuff to give away to begin to flog that through quick ‘like to win’ comps.
I’m waiting for the backlash. For the:
‘Wait. Where’s my entry? Did you delete it?!!!!!!!!!’
‘What happened to that comp?’
‘What date does it close?’
‘Is this open to residents of the UK?’
‘How do I collect my new ironing board?’
‘My 14 year old son just won a bottle of bourbon, how dare you!’
It didn’t take long to wait for this:
2DayFM published that status update today (hat tip to the community management group I’m part of that shared that today; thank you). The last time I checked, that status update had 25,810 comments.
They haven’t even said what the prize is. OR IF THERE’S A PRIZE!
I kinda liked that we had to use competition apps to try to manage the world of Facebook competitions. (Yeah, I kinda hated it too).
To end with some clichés: it’s the dawning of a new era. Welcome to the Wild West.