Why I Might Break Up With Facebook

Dear Facebook,

It’s been a real blast partnering with you, Facebook, but I’m afraid we must part ways. Not completely—but a good bit.

Yes, it’s a (not-so) sad day, but if I can’t manage to stay-up-to-date with your constant overhauls, changing interfaces, and privacy policies every five seconds, then why waste the time using it as a PR tool for my business. I don’t have the time to spend two hours per day doing Facebook research with the anticipation that I’ll have to research it the very next day to catch up on their overnight changes.

Much love, Michelle Salater

How did this slightly bitter feeling arise?

Well, it’s been there for a while, but it was further provoked by a February 22, 2010, article I found on WebProNews titled, “Running a Promotion on Your Facebook Page May Cost You $10K.” According to a quote in this article by Eric Eldon at Inside Facebook, you may not administer any form of promotion through Facebook unless you receive a “written approval from a Facebook account representative. In order to get one of those, you have to spend about ten grand advertising with the company.”

Facebook’s new Promotion Guidelines (which were revised in December 2009) state that any user that uses Facebook to administer any form of promotion—whether it’s a contest, sweepstakes, or competition–must contact a Facebook representative for approval. Failure to comply may result in Facebook removing your promotional materials or blocking your access to certain areas of Facebook.

To clarify what “administer” truly means, here is an excerpt from Facebook Promotions Guidelines:  “Administering a promotion on Facebook means operating any element of the promotion on Facebook or using any part of the Facebook Platform. This may include, for example, collecting submissions or entries, conducting the drawing, judging winning entries, or notifying winners.”

In other words, you cannot use Facebook as the platform to which people submit their entries. For example, it is unacceptable to run a contest on your blog where participants are required to post a status update on their personal Facebook pages about the contest or about that particular blog in order to enter.

Further, Facebook’s decision to add some pretty hefty law jargon to their Promotion Guidelines without making the change obvious to uninformed Facebook users seems slightly neglectful. This new policy was added to the guidelines back in December—and I’m hearing about it now?

By no means am I discouraging you, dear Reader, from using your Facebook company page to engage prospects and build relationships—it’s a great tool for that. But, make sure you don’t broadcast any form of promotion, sweepstakes, or contest.

According to Facebook, you’ll have to pay for that.

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