Facebook requires that anyone wanting to administer a promotion or sweepstakes on their Facebook Page first get written approval. But part of the approval process has been surprising people since it was updated last November. In order to be approved, you need an account representative at Facebook. And to get an account representative in the first place, you need to spend around $10,000 on Facebook advertising.
On its face, it might appear that Facebook is trying to quietly force people to pay an extra, not-obvious fee — to make more money. But this is not the case, the company tells us. The fee threshold exists because the company doesn’t have enough staff to preview every possible promotion that anyone might to do, it says; it has to preview every promotion, because it could possibly be held liable for illegal promotions run by third parties.
Specifically, Section 3 of the promotions guidelines says:
You may not administer any promotion through Facebook, except that you may administer a promotion through the Facebook Platform with our prior written approval. Such written approval may be obtained only through an account representative at Facebook. If you are already working with an account representative, please contact that representative to begin the approval process. If you do not work with an account representative, you can use this contact form to inquire about working with an account representative. If we provide you such approval, you agree to the following: [read the rest here].”
A mish-mash of state and national laws govern promotions in the United States, and the same goes for other countries. The preview requirement is another way that Facebook is trying to maintain quality, and avoid lawsuits from, say, a user who thinks they should have won a $1 million dollar jackpot promotion that’s actually a scam.
The company separately asks advertisers to comply its general terms of service, specific terms regarding advertising, as well as its promotions guidelines. The business model, with pages, is to try to get as many people using them as possible, then make a little money from each person if they want to do paid advertising — the preview fee goes against this model to try to keep Facebook legally safe.
The problem, as many people trying to build promotions for Facebook have been discovering on their own, is that the fee requirement is never clearly spelled out. And, neither is the rationale for the fee. The result is confusion among marketers and developers trying to build promotions for Facebook, especially for small-business clients. Facebook has quickly grown to 400 million users, and thousands of marketers are trying to figure out how to use it