Facebook Page owners should be aware
While it is important to read all Terms of Service when using any website, we all know the reality is that people rarely do, but as a business, it is important to pay attention, particularly when it comes to Facebook Pages, because you can open your page one day and the entire thing has been shut down, just ask Hell Pizza in New Zealand.
“We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason,” Facebook says, and they are extremely serious. Without warning, your brand’s Facebook Page could be eliminated – content, fans, and all. There are ways to properly use Facebook Pages, and there are ways to get your Page completely removed from the face of the Facebook planet. Let’s talk about both.
Your Facebook Page cover photo
It seems like a good idea to use your cover photo the same way you would a roadside billboard, right? Wrong. You may not use your cover photo as an ad. Period. Here is what Facebook has banned from appearing in any cover photo, and any infraction may result in complete elimination of your Facebook Page forever (not to be dramatic, but in most cases, appeals fall on deaf ears, say our sources):
- No calls to action. You can’t say “get yours now” or “tell a friend” or anything like that in your cover photo.
- No contact information. You can’t list your website, phone number, email, address, or anything that Facebook believes should be in your “About” section.”
- No purchase information. You can’t say “40% off,” or “$99 special,” or “get yours now on our site.”
- No references to Facebook features or actions. You can’t tell people to “like” or “share” or put an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
- No images you do not own or have the right to use. Also, no deception or misleading visitors.
- No encouraging users to upload your cover image to their personal timeline.
Promotions on your Facebook Page
Promotions have always been tricky on Facebook because it is in their best interest to charge you for ad space and promotions, so they are extremely strict and unforgiving, which is why most brands are forced into using sweepstakes apps through Facebook.
The company disallows all of the following not only within a promotion on Facebook, but in advertising your promotion or referencing your promotion elsewhere:
- You cannot run any sort of competition, promotion, or sweepstakes on your Facebook Page using Facebook’s features and functionality. You can use one of the apps on Facebook to do it, but you cannot tell anyone to “like/share this update/photo/video for a chance to win,” or “the 1,000th fan wins,” or “photo with the most likes wins,” or even “add a comment to enter.”
- You cannot hold Facebook responsible, so you are required to include a disclaimer releasing Facebook from any liability (like “This contest is not associated with or endorsed by Facebook”), so you can include it in the terms of service of your app or your own website.
- You cannot collect information without disclosing who receives the information, making sure to note that Facebook is not collecting the data.
- You cannot use Facebook features as part of any promotion or participation other than liking your Page, checking in, or connecting to your app. You cannot automatically register any entrant based on a Facebook action (liking, checking in, etc.).
- You cannot notify winners through Facebook. You may not use a Facebook message, chat, a post on their wall or your Page, or anywhere on Facebook.
Your Facebook Page name
Facebook has restrictions on what you can and cannot name your Facebook Page and how it is formatted:
- Your Page name must match your company name.
- You cannot use generic terms and name your Page just “beer,” rather it must be “South Tennessee Hops Beer.”
- Your Page name cannot be in all capital letters unless your brand’s name is an acronym.
- You cannot use character symbols in the name of your Page, even trademark symbols, bullet points, or excessive punctuation.
The full terms
Click to visit the Facebook terms, or read below, the most recent Terms of Service as of publication of this story. Facebook is quite serious about these rules, and removal of a Page does not come with warning, is not usually restored, and is often brought to Facebook’s attention through someone flagging a page for Facebook’s review.