Following a policy change, page owners can no longer encourage people to like a page in return for a reward.
Encouraging people to like your page for a reward (also called ‘like gating’). Usually involves a third-party app on your page telling a user to like your page in order to get at hidden content.
You’ve probably seen something similar yourself: “Like this page to get a free ebook!”
Earlier this year Facebook announced a policy and API change which comes into effect today (5th November). Which said: “You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page.
“It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, check-in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.
“To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them. We want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”
What does this change mean?
In short it means that you can’t encourage people to like your page in exchange for a reward. Whether that involves a third-party app or not.
The API change means that third-party apps won’t be able to tell if a user has liked or your page or not.
For example: If you’re using a third-party app to make people like your page before giving them a free ebook. The app won’t be able to tell if they have liked your page or not. Which means that the content which was previously gated is now visible to everyone, regardless of whether they ‘like’ your page or not.
What it doesn’t mean
You can still run competitions through an app on your Facebook page. And you can still encourage people to check-in at your location or use an app on your page to run a competition.
For example: it’s still acceptable for you to say; “Save 10% on your next meal by logging into our app” or “Check-in next time you shop and get a free gift!”
Do I need to do anything?
As we mentioned above, any content behind an app will be visible to everyone. So it’s best to disable those apps and get rid of them.
You will also need to remove any graphics or copy on your Facebook page, website, or anywhere else that tells people to like your Facebook page in exchange for a reward.
In addition to that if you have a page header which says something like ‘like our page to get a free ebook,’ you will need to update that as it could be confusing.
So what now?
For some businesses removing like-gaiting will be yet another Facebook frustration. As it was a way of gaining likes without paying for advertising.
However, just because someone liked a page doesn’t mean they’re actually interested in it. Some of us are guilty of liking a page just to enter a competition or get something for free. So some of those people may not be genuinely interested or engaged likes.
The point of Facebook, and social media in general, is to try and create engagement. Though admittedly Facebook are making that harder for small businesses.
The removal of like-gating might mean it’s harder for you to gain likes but the likes you do gain will be liking your page because they are interested, rather than because they want a freebee.