Unfortunately many social media networks don’t make their terms of service clear. And because using it and setting accounts up is not straightforward and intuitive, many businesses go against the platforms terms of service without even being aware of it.
Facebook is one of the worst that a business has to try to navigate what to do, and what not to do.
Facebook cracks down hard on businesses when they have found terms of service violations, and because so much time is spent on Facebook promoting a business, the last thing anyone wants to happen is Facebook takes their account down, which has been know to happen, no warning, no recourse. And no way to get your account reinstated as well if it violates the TOS.
There are also some things that businesses may want to consider when outsourcing their social media. What happens if a designer or marketer designs and puts up a banner ad that is against Facebook’s TOS? I recently saw one on an example provided by an outsourcing marketer for the restaurant industry which contained pricing information. Who is at fault if Facebook decides to take your page down without notice.
As businesses you as the owners need to be aware of the stated terms of service so you can not only protect yourself but also make sure anyone who you are using to market for you knows what they are doing. It’s your business at risk.
Here are three areas where many businesses, marketers and companies that are doing outsourced media marketing for customers go against Facebooks terms of service. The most common one’s I’ve come across, I’ve put in red.
“Profiles represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook.” And ““You will not use your personal profile for commercial gain.”
Which in a nutshell mean you need to have a business “fan” page and not a personal profile for your business. Of course what’s not clear to many businesses is that you need the personal profile to set up a business page.
Business Page Guidelines
B. Cover (large banner image)
All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.
Covers may not include:
i. price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
ii. contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
iii. references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
iv. calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
If you use Facebook to communicate about or administer a promotion (such as a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including the official rules, offer terms and eligibility requirements (e.g., age and residency restrictions), and compliance with regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered in connection with the promotion (e.g., registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals). Please note that compliance with these guidelines does not constitute the lawfulness of a promotion. Promotions are subject to many regulations and if you are not certain that your promotion complies with applicable law, please consult with an expert.
i. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
ii. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
c. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.
iii. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
iv. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
v. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
vi. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
a. By “administration” we mean the operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.
b. By “communication” we mean promoting, advertising or referencing a promotion in any way on Facebook, e.g., in ads, on a Page, or in a Wall post.