CAUTION – Read the Terms of Service Before You Use Facebook for Marketing

Have you read Facebook’s Terms of service? Maybe you aren’t having that much trouble sleeping, but truthfully, I encourage you, implore you, to read them if you’re using Facebook for business.  With its almost 600 million members, if Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd most populated in the world.  In Mark Zuckerberg’s words, “Our terms aren’t just a document that protect our rights; it’s the governing document for how the service is used by everyone across the world.”

So Zuckerberg’s  developed a country, and his terms are the constitution. Ok, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but they are important and if you’re spending time and money developing a Facebook page and a fan base for your business, you want to make sure you aren’t doing anything that could compromise what you’ve built. Here’s a few things you should be aware of.

It is against the terms of service to have more than one profile.

Even if you’re using one for your business profile and one for your friends and family, it breaks the rules. Instead, consider locking down your personal profile’s privacy settings and then using that profile to admin your business pages. With Facebook’s new ability to post as a page across the network, the problem of comments showing up as your personal profile is solved. Now you don’t have an excuse.

You cannot have a contest on your page

That’s right. This is strictly forbidden. The only way Facebook allows you to involve them in a contest is if you use a third party platform. Read it – it’s real. There are some instances when you can run promotions on your pages, so check out the promotions guidelines  if in doubt:

You cannot use the Facebook logo or language in your ads

Yep. Their terms limit the use of: “Facebook logos, trademarks, site terminology (including but not limited to Facebook, The Facebook, FacebookHigh, FBook, FB, Poke, Wall, and other company graphics, logos, designs, or icons)” in ads you create.

These terms are meant to enhance the user experience and keep the content open and consistent with the tone of Facebook. They strive to “transform existing advertising into messages that are tailored to the individual user based on how their friends interact and affiliate with the brands, music artists, and businesses they care about.”

The consequences for violating the terms?  They’ll stop providing part, or all of Facebook to you.  Now that’s something that should keep you up at night.

Here’s some of the the terms for your reading enjoyment:

Terms of service: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php

Page terms: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php#!/terms_pages.php

Promotions guidelines: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

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About Sue Reynolds
Sue Reynolds is the founder and owner of Carmine Media, a web and social media consultancy. She is the manager of social media and web design at R+L Carriers, where she works with businesses and non profits to build their web presence and nurture brand loyalty.

2 Responses to CAUTION – Read the Terms of Service Before You Use Facebook for Marketing

  1. Good stuff Sue. Thanks for sharing. I had thought about setting up a separate profile for my business, but I guess I should give that one a little more thought.

    Just out of curiosity, do they have anything in there about hot young blondes inviting me to look at their pics???

  2. Sue Reynolds says:

    Sorry Dave, nothing in the terms of service that I can find. Seriously though, keep it to one profile and use lists and security settings to maintain your privacy. Thanks for commenting!

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