Terms of Service also define the relationship between you and the provider. They tell you how your privacy will be protected, what you can or can’t do while using the service and what happens if you violate the rules you agree to honor.
Facebook’s Terms are easy to understand. And still, every day (and I do mean every day) I see businesses and other organizations endangering the communities they are growing by flagrantly violating the Terms they agreed to when their Facebook presence was created.
What does violating Facebook’s Terms look like? I’ve provided 3 of the most common examples I see each day.
Building community on a Profile instead of an Official Page
Facebook says, “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.”
Facebook also says, “You will not use your personal profile for commercial gain . . .”
If you are a business, organization or cause currently building your Facebook community on a Profile instead of a Page, you stand to lose everything you’ve gained when Facebook identifies your violation. All the time and effort you’ve spent collecting Friends, loading images and creating community will have been for nothing when Facebook identifies the violation and the Profile vanishes. Save yourself the headache, create a Page.
Running an unapproved contest on Facebook
Facebook says, “Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or an app on a Page Tab”
No matter how small a promotion, contest or sweepstakes seems to you – from how you can ask users to participate and what prizes can be awarded to how you can contact winners, Facebook has rules for you to follow. Start here by reading up on Facebook Promotion Guidelines.
Tagging people who aren’t in an image, without their permission.
Facebook says, “You can tag a photo only with the express consent of the user on whose behalf you are doing the tagging, and must only tag images when the tag accurately labels what is depicted in the image.”
Tagging your Friends in the photo logo of a cause to promote awareness of that cause is not only a violation of Terms but can be reported by those you are tagging as abusive behavior on your part – which brings your violation to Facebook’s attention and opens your Page’s content to review. It’s spammy. Just don’t do it.
The bottom line?
If you are using Facebook for business of any kind, treat it like a business tool. Read the Terms before you sign them. Obtain the necessary permissions and rights when administrating a promotion or contest of any kind. Understand that you can lose all or part of your Facebook presence if you don’t honor the agreement you sign. At best, Facebook will remove the content that violates their Terms; at worst, Facebook will remove your entire presence and there’s no getting it back. A full list of Facebook’s Terms is available for review at any time.
Have you taken the time to read and understand the Terms for Facebook and other online platforms you participate on?