Facebook changes cover photo policy: 20% text rule in effect but content less regulated


By Brittany Darwell Comment

photosFacebook has updated its policy for pages’ cover photos, eliminating rules against calls to action, contact info or references to price or purchase information, while maintaining the 20 percent limit for text overlay.

The new guidelines give page owners more flexibility in the type of content they include in their covers. Many were unaware of these rules or simply ignored them knowing Facebook was unlikely to take action against them for their violations. The latest guidelines for pages regarding cover photos is:

All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines. Covers may not include images with more than 20% text.

It is unclear when exactly these new guidelines were implemented, as Facebook did not update the date on its guidelines to reflect the change. We learned of this new policy from author Mari Smith, who was tipped off by Hugh Briss of Social Identities and Andrea Vahl of Grandma Mary – Social Media Edutainer. [Update: Facebook tells us this change went into effect on March 6, and the guidelines page has been updated to reflect this.]

The previous rules in place since December 2012 were as follows:

Covers may not include:
i.    images with more than 20% text;
ii.    price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
iii.    contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
iv.    references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
v.    calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

Photos that appeared in News Feed ads previously had similar stipulations, but those were removed earlier this year. Now, rules for cover photos and ad images are consistent. This is important as cover photos are beginning to be included in both organic and sponsored page-Like stories in News Feed. Admins should be aware that the way their cover photo looks on their page is not how it will appear in News Feed, particularly if they include text or arrows, or try to incorporate their profile picture as unified part of the cover.

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Read also: Facebook explains how 20% text overlay policy for ads is enforced