What You CANNOT Do on Facebook

02 Jul




Has your Facebook account ever been suspended?  Well mine is – since February, after only being there for five months:  I was offered by Facebook a whole bunch of people to choose friends from. Oh, nice, I thought, and selected everyone who looked friendly. Only days later I received an email, that my account is suspended for a month as FB’s rules were broken:  you can only choose friends you know personally.  But hey, why on earth did they contact me in the first place, and offered me to choose “friends” ???

Since then, every time I log in, they prompt me to identify people from a photo album, which often consists of cats, vacation scenes, jewelry and yes, also people at parties or riding on a bike. “Sorry Facebook, but I have no clue who’s cat that is, and I am not able to remember everyone’s name.  Actually I am very bad with names.”  As I am totally happy at Google+ (which is also much easier to use) and Twitter and Goodreads, I don’t need Facebook really, never liked it, did not spend much time there – and now I finally gave up this silly photo-game…   So sorry guys, but when YOU invited me to be your friend on Facebook, I don’t even get your invitation. And please don’t ask me anymore to “like” you on Facebook.

Now I learned that Facebook suspends and punishes even big corporations for minor flaws. Read a great blog by marketing guru Anna Gervai:

Did you hear about Velvet Burger? They are one of the most recent companies to have their Facebook page deleted for breaking the rules. They waved ‘bye bye’ to almost 10,000 fans in the process.  You may have also heard that Hell Pizza went the same way – losing their page and 20,000 fans along with it. Hell managed to get their page back through someone-who-knew-someone who worked at Facebook, but sadly – in most cases – if this happens to you, you’ll be starting from scratch.

When you created your Facebook page for your business you ticked a box saying you have read and agree to the terms and conditions. I know, I know, of course you didn’t actually read them (and I don’t blame you, there are pages and pages to read) but ignorance is definitely not bliss. As Facebook says “We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason.” And they’re not kidding. Don’t think you’ll get a warning either! Poof! One day it could just be gone.

The bad news is claiming you didn’t know you were breaking the rules won’t cause Facebook to reverse your page deletion decision. The good news? With a little learning you can prevent the next victim being your page.

There are Facebook rules that page admins break on a daily basis, so included in the list of what you CANNOT do that follows below are no doubt many you’ve been guilty of. Even if you’ve been playing by the rules, you might read them and think “But everyone does that! Why can’t I?”.  To paraphrase mothers around the world “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”. Kidding aside, it really isn’t worth flouting the rules.

So here’s my list of the most commonly broken Facebook rules you simply cannot do with your page. Pay attention, so your page is not the next in line for the chopping block!

Promotion Rules
Here’s where you’re going to feel guilty as these are broken all the time. It’s these rules that caused Velvet Burger to lose their page (and their 9,500+ fans along with it).


  • Run any sort of promotion, competition, sweepstakes etc on your Facebook page using Facebook’s features and functionality – ie: make sure you use an app or ‘custom page’ and not ‘like this update’ / ‘share this photo’ / ‘upload your photo to our page’ / ‘add a comment’ (and so on) to enter (a more complete list follows below).
  • Hold Facebook responsible: So you must include a disclaimer that releases Facebook of any responsibility – eg: You’ve got to mention something along the lines of “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook”. This is best put on the page/s of your app and in your terms and conditions on your website.  Following on from above, you must also disclose who the entrant is giving their information to. The usual wording is “Participants are providing information to [your company name and the name of any other companies who see entrants information] and not to Facebook.”
  • Use any Facebook features or functionality as part of the promotion or participation other than liking your page, checking in or connecting to your app.
  • Use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism – ie: the act of liking your page or checking in cannot automatically register or enter the person in your promotion. Basically a condition of entry can be to like your page but the fan must then complete their entry on your Facebook app or custom page.
  • Use the Like button as a way of voting (eg: most likes wins is not okay). Any other Facebook feature or functionality cannot be used for voting either (eg: The person who invites the most new fans wins …)
  • Notify winners through Facebook – ie: don’t use Facebook message, chat or posting on the winner’s page, your page or another company’s page to notify winners.
  • These rules apply when promoting your promotion as well! So when you advertise (eg: Facebook ads) or reference a promotion (eg: in a Wall post) you need to follow the rules..

Wall Promotions:   These types of promotions are therefore NOT OK (often called Wall Promotions) because you’re using Facebook features and functionality to run the PROMOTION. Don’t do this:

  • Share this [update / photo / video etc] to be in to win…
  • Upload a photo / video …
  • Every 25th new fan wins…
  • Add a comment …
  • Invite your friends to like our page …
  • Answer this question …
  • Photo with the most likes wins …

Data collection
Whether promotional or not, whenever you collect content or information from a Facebook user, you have to make it clear that you (and not Facebook) are collecting it.
You’ll need to notify Facebook users and obtain their consent plus tell them (or link to your website privacy policy or terms and conditions page) how their information will be used by you.
Your Page Name
Your page name and your Facebook username must reflect / match your company name.
So if your company sells milk called Moo Juice then your page name should be ‘Moo Juice’ or ‘Moo Juice Milk’ but not ‘Milk’ as you can’t call your page a generic term – eg: ‘Beer’ or ‘Pizza’.
Your page name cannot be entirely in capitals unless your organisation’s name is an acronym. So the Bank of New Zealand can call their page BNZ but just because your logo has your name all in capitals, if it’s not an acronym, your page name cannot be all caps.  You also CANNOT use character symbols, such as bullet points or excessive punctuation or trademark symbols, in your page name.

New Cover Photo Rules
Want to read Facebook’s new cover photo rules for yourself? And here are some examples of cover photos from brands breaking the new rules.

Facebook Ads
Before you run Facebook Ads, have a careful read through the Facebook Advertising Guidelines. There are so many that it deserves it’s own article so for now you’ll have to do your own homework 😉
Do not use this article to decide if what you’re doing is or is not okay! Other than the fact that I haven’t made a complete list of ALL the rules, Facebook updates the rules all the time! You’ll need to do your own research or check it past your Facebook Rep or agency to be sure. You can get started here:

Given how often these rules are broken and the fact the Facebook’s terms and conditions sprawl over multiple pages; I hope you’ve learned a lot. Please consider liking or sharing this article with your network to help other business owners, marketers and page admins avoid falling into the page deletion trap! Just pick one of the sharing options at the top of my web page or below, thank you in advance 🙂

About Anna GervaiGet the latest Marketing Gum articles about Facebook and social media first and free, subscribe by email here for free updates

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Among countless other great articles, Anna wrote one you shouldn’t miss:

Why only 1 in 6 fans see your Facebook page updates & how to fix it + what is Edgerank? – See more at:




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5 responses to “What You CANNOT Do on Facebook

  1. Anthony Alegrete

    July 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    great post Doris

  2. majestic collection san francisco

    July 3, 2013 at 2:00 am

    We’re a gaggle of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with helpful information to work on. You’ve done an impressive activity and our whole group might be
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  3. The Story Reading Ape

    July 3, 2013 at 5:40 am

    You’re absolutely correct, it is so easy to fall foul of the FB entity. I was penalised for spamming when all I was doing was contacting my friends – all 200+ of them at that time – why so many? I promote Indie authors on my blog and was setting up FB to expand publicity for these authors, who were also on FB but only with their own pages.

    I’ve served my 30 days suspension (imposed within 3 hours of joining FB) and am able to proceed again – luckily I was able to email the authors I’d not yet contacted and they came to me with friend requests, but I couldn’t message them or even LIKE their pages, so had to again email them to say thanks.

    I don’t blame FB for all this, they are just trying to stop spamming as best they can and prevent stalking as well I think, but it’s a great pity that they have to be so sensitive because of a few Trolls who have spoiled it for the rest of us 🙂

  4. jimrada

    July 3, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Very informative and it left me wondering how vulnerable my FB page is.

  5. Daryl Devore (@DarylDevore)

    July 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Hey – when you think you are God – who can stop you.


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