The 6 Facebook policies that will get your promotion banned

FacebookBrands are constantly told by marketers that Facebook is a ‘must have’ and that they should focus on increasing their fan base (aka getting users to click on the ‘Like’ button for their brand). The go-to tactic for increasing ‘Like’ activity is to introduce promotions — typically a discount offer. These promotions are typically served through the Facebook Tab and are powered by custom applications that developers build. Since brands are eager to create these apps, Facebook has posted a set of policies on acceptable application behaviors.

Below are the 6 policies most commonly violated that will result in your app getting banned:

  1. Your application tab or canvas page cannot serve as a doorway page to your site. Redirecting users from these to a microsite outside of FB is a no-no!
  2. The application cannot link, redirect or integrate with a competing social platform like Google+, Twitter, etc. Many applications take advantage of the AddThis widget to cross promote other social platforms and with the change to Google’s search algorithm, it is expected that Facebook will try to further wall-off their garden.
  3. The application may collect Facebook User data but the data is not yours to keep. In fact, you may retain access to the data only while your app is live; you must delete all user data if you disable the application.
  4. User data can be used to create a physical product (like a book of your Facebook comments) but that product cannot be sold.
  5. The application can also collect Friend data but only for the purpose of enhancing the application experience.
  6. If your application lives outside of Facebook and uses Facebook Connect for authentication, Facebook usernames or passwords cannot be stored inside the application.

These guideline changes frequently so you have to stay on top of these policies. There are live applications that are in violation of these policies yet Facebook hasn’t banned them. While it may be tempting, don’t take the “I’ll jump off the cliff because someone already has” approach because Facebook can easily catch your promotion. Over the past few years, we’ve built a fair share of apps and fortunately we ran into an issue only once. Facebook put us through the ringer before they allowed our application to relaunch. It is an experience that I never want to repeat again.