Why I Might Break Up With Facebook

by Michelle Salater on February 26, 2010

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.

If you like this post, you might also like:

  1. A Travel Company’s Facebook Success Story
  2. Catching a Thief on Facebook
  3. Mr. Wick Gets Down With Facebook

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Nora D. Richardson February 26, 2010 at 9:56 am

Thanks for the useful info. I hadn’t heard of the new FB policies.

Melody February 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Thanks, Michelle. Great post.

Facebook blew it…they could (and should) have given Google some serious competition for the small business advertising dollar. But it sounds like their head’s gotten too big for that, and they’re now catering to the big boys. Sad.

Ashley February 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm

That is really stupid on their part. I don’t think they will ever actually follow-up on stuff like this because really they should have better things to do, but it’s still a horrible business strategy.

Michelle Salater February 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Ashley, I couldn’t agree more. Even if they wanted to follow up, how on earth would they begin to police Facebook? My prediction is they are going to start seeing more and more people leaving Facebook–not just because of their new guidelines, but because social media is not meant to be controlled. When a platform which began as a free-for-all starts trying to take money from its users, well…people aren’t going to like it.

Jenni February 26, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I have no idea how they plan on following up with this. I enter contests on Facebook all the time, and not the clearly Facebook sponsored ones. This really hurts Etsy sellers and small business owners. Yet another reason I despise Facebook- its becoming the Wal*Mart of social media.

Rachel Moffatt February 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I have sensed that the tide has been turning against Facebook for some time now. This action against small business owners is just a boot in the backside, furthering a mass exodus of those already unimpressed with the constant chaos that has been Facebook lately.

Chris February 26, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I’ve actually known about this rule for awhile, and it played a role in my decision to quit Facebook for now. I’ve always found promoting using Facebook fan pages rather difficult, and this just makes it more difficult. I’ve never liked Facebook’s policies anyway – their privacy and copyright policies are bad too.

I really hope another social networking site comes along and kills Facebook. Its only asset right now is its vast userbase.

bertie February 27, 2010 at 12:56 am

this article really caught my eye. it seems like every social media avenue ends in too many rules/ads/spam/fines/irrelevance/kids/crazyhtml/etc.

btw we have a fanpage for our etsy shop, and never ran a promotion but i wish it was still available to us.

Robin Maria Pedrero February 28, 2010 at 7:21 am

so glad to have someone on top of all the legalese…ty

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