Facebook penalising pages that ask for shares and tags

Facebook announced on its blog yesterday that it will be clamping down on ‘engagement bait’ on the platform. Essentially – those irritating posts that ask you to Like, Share or Tag a friend. And yes, that means REAL competitions as well as the scam ‘Win a BMW’ ones!

On the blog, Facebook says:

People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions.

The move is designed to reduce the amount of spam, scams and misleading information, in order to promote more authentic conversations on Facebook (examples below taken from Facebook blog).

How will this affect competitions?

Facebook are actively going to demote posts that use ‘engagement bait’ tactics, so they won’t show in newsfeed – and prize draws (whether real or fake) fall into this category. Hopefully this will mean that brands will consider ditching the ‘like and share’ and ‘tag a friend’ promotions, in favour of a simple ‘like and comment’ to enter format, where they actually engage their fans with relevant conversation – although who’s to say if Facebook might consider asking for a comment as ‘engagement bait’ too?

What people also tend to forget is that Facebook terms state that a page can’t ask an entrant to share a post in order to win a prize – and they can’t ask entrants to tag a friend either!

Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).

But despite this, for years brands have been able to continue with their ‘Like and share’ competitions without any fear of being penalised. I’ve never been a fan of them – after all, sharing a competition reduces the chance of you winning it (because all your friends see it and enter too!), it makes your personal profile look like a list of adverts – PLUS it’s impossible for a promoter to choose a winner fairly and randomly from Facebook shares (see Please, stop the Shares! for more on this). So I’m delighted at the prospect of seeing less of them!

It looks like brands are going to have to write all their Facebook posts – not just competitions – very carefully over the next few months, until they can see exactly how this change will affect the ‘reach’ of their content. If it has a drastic effect, it could even result in some of them moving their competitions off Facebook and onto Twitter, Instagram or their website. And I for one wouldn’t mind that at all!

Do you enter Like & Share competitions, or tag friends in Facebook posts – or do you hate them?

18 Responses

  1. Joanne says:

    I get banned for liking pages too, is this also something they have added in. ?

  2. becci cleary says:

    I HATE the L&S Comps – I try to never share them and hope that If I do win and there is an issue over me not sharing then I can argue the point its against the terms of Facebook. Also the ones with Tag more than 1 person I ignore straight away – would love for these to stop so I can enter more.

  3. Irene Wright says:

    I tag only Compers in any competition. Hopefully, the promoters will now take advantage of the new apps available to use for competitions. Okay they may have to pay for them but that expense should be within the advertising budget. It’s also much safer to use as well – no so many fake accounts.

  4. Sylvia Robbins says:

    I’ve only got 27 FB friends so I don’t mind tagging the ones that are good for sharing comps with me. At 75 I don’t need a lot of the prizes on offer but I tag friends who I know would be interested. It is worrying to post publicly as the promoters need to see that I’ve done it but I don’t get much spam and some turns out to be interesting. I’ve only ever blocked one so called ‘friend of a friend’ but it’s good to have the facility. I prefer to have a form to complete and am sure many entrants just like and share because they are too hasty to click on a link. My final niggle is the girl who has a template for every FB comp – bad grammar and mostly irrelevant, lol. I love to treat every comment as a tie – breaker as I did in the old days – that’s how I won – apt and original. x

  5. Heather Jenkinson says:

    I have grudgingly in the past liked and shared only if it’s a prize I really want, I love the like and comment comps, I find the comments interesting, and have had some quite nice funny chats with some of the other entrants that way! I tag friends and they tag me, and that’s fine by me and them, but the like and share I find annoying, especially when companies seem to insist on it, and make out it’s a mandatory part of the entrance process. So I’l be glad to see less of the likes and shares!

  6. Patricia Bond says:

    About time too, I only ever enter them if it is something I really want as it really annoys me that they wants you to tag friends. Lets hope they stick to it!

  7. Chris Hunt says:

    I am so glad this is coming in and I hope they follow through and police it. I absolutely refuse to tag anyone and I hate all the like and share stuff. I will only do it if i’m pushed. I only enter like and comment/photo comps on FB as a rule and also use a relevant picture. I detest any form of sob story or ‘reason’ a person would win. I.E. My kettle / washing machine has just broken etc.
    If all this comes to pass, I think the companies will prefer it anyway as they will be able to engage with genuine people and lets hope against hope that they will be able to pick a winner in the fairest way.

  8. Katrina Adams says:

    I’m so glad they are clamping down on this – I had hoped they would add a reporting option so that pages that continue to do this could be reported and the post removed or the company given a chance to change it to fit Facebook policy. I am happy to like and comment but hate sharing and tagging as seems so spammy! I find a similar problem with Twitter though. I don’t get a huge amount of interaction even though I do comment but I hate the retweets for comps as my timeline would end up just looking like advertising.

    All in all I think this is a great move.

    • Di says:

      I don’t mind Twitter retweets too much as it’s so fast moving, but Facebook and Instagram both show posts from a few days ago so that cruddy competition you shared or regrammed could be hanging around for ages on your friends’ newsfeeds, taking the place of something far more important (and yes, looking just like an ad!)

  9. Laura Corrall says:

    I enjoy the tags. I’m always happy to be tagged, after all it gives me a chance to win too. Plus I can select who I wish to tag in said competition so I can ensure it’s relevant to them ie- a kids competition, I can tag a friend with an age appropriate child. However I can’t stand shares! I do it if the company asks, purely encase they do check. However it makes my profile look like I’m a spammy robot.

    • Di says:

      I don’t mind tags – as long as it’s appropriate. eg. Tag a friend to win, tag the friend you will take if you win… but I hate the ‘tag as many friends as you like for extra entries’ because you KNOW the promoter won’t count them up and draw fairly at all (this really winds me up on Instagram too!)

  10. rebecca Beesley says:

    definitely a good move in my opinion by facebook – wish they had clamped down on like and share originally when they said they would too. I’ve hardly touched facebook all year as I’ve lost interest in the comps on there – too many sob stories, too many entries even for small prizes, too many like and share / tag comps. Just not worth the time or effort! Would love to see companies using facebook in more innovative ways for comps.

  11. Neill Johnstone says:

    Like-sharing is such a tedious entry mechanic that I wouldn’t miss it for a second. I’d much rather have to something to actually engage with the brand, even if it meant entering half as many comps. In any case, whenever I comment on a promoter’s post, Facebook takes it upon itself to share it in my friends’ timelines anyway, so forcing entrants to share is largely pointless!

  12. Amy Jo says:

    Very interested to see how this will pan out.

    Like you said, Facebook may consider everything engagement bait and then competitions from Facebook may fade away. I’d miss FB comps as they are so easy to enter but perhaps others will be lower entry?

    I expect this will signal a comping shake up!

  13. The only thing that bothers me when I do comment on a page saying thank you or you’re welcome when someone tags me Facebook marks my comment as spam. How is that fair to me??

  14. Elizabeth Smith says:

    Hurrah! I suspect a lot of tags are to fake accounts anyway because I wouldn’t clutter any of my friends’ facebook pages

  15. Francesca Jones says:

    I hate it when promoters ask for a share for all of your reasons stated.
    A comment is so much simpler!

  16. Jade rice says:

    I prefer the like and comment tbh think twitter should do the same. The sharing and retweeting gets me banned

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