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?