Getting Your Interactive Facebook Campaign Approved [Case Study]

A little over a month ago we covered a new interactive Facebook campaign from Rounds called Ashley Boo.  Ashley Boo was the first of it’s kind—an interactive profile campaign that let you write in Ashley Boo’s status and then watch videos of her doing what you typed.  The campaign was a success at first, garnering over 88,000 videos played within hours.  But a mere seven hours after the campaign hit YouTube it was taken down by Facebook, due to violations of their Terms & Conditions.  Now Ashley Boo is back and better than ever, complying with Facebook Terms.

I had the opportunity to ask Rounds’ Social Community and Marketing Manager, Natasha Shine, a couple of questions about the experience.  Hopefully reading what she had to say can help you avoid issues with Facebook’s Terms & Conditions if you are planning an interactive creative campaign on Facebook.  Read on to find out what Natasha had to say.

The original Ashley Boo Facebook campaign, which was taken down after 7 hours, was created by Rounds.com to promote their Facebook applicationRounds is a video chat platform that lets you play games, watch YouTube videos and do other fun stuff with your friends.  Natasha told me, “It was made in-house and was originally inspired by Tipp-Ex’s Hunter Shoots A Bear campaign.  Ashley Boo, however, was the first of its kind on Facebook.  The reason we used Facebook is that we wanted to promote our application in a new and innovative way and show people what our brand is all about.”

Natasha told me that they were given two reasons for why the original application, which looked almost identical to a Facebook profile and served up videos in the profile picture area when you typed commands into the status update field:

1. Apps must not confuse, mislead, surprise or defraud anyone.  (Facebook Platform Principle: Be Trustworthy.)

2. You must not use or make derivative use of Facebook icons, or use terms for Facebook features and functionality, if such use could confuse users into thinking that the reference is to Facebook features or functionality. (FPP I.8)

Natasha said, “They also stated that our app was violating their policies, particularly by using their branding and providing an experience that can very easily confuse users into thinking our app is Facebook.”  She says that Facebook gave no warning.  They took the app down and sent an email entitled, “Notice of Disable: Ashley Boo.”  She says, “We corresponded with them a few times and send them a mock-up of the new version.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t give us the canvas URL back, but they did guide us into creating a new app and said that this app is definitely much less confusing to users.  You can see in the image below that we changed the whole look and feel of the app.  It no longer imitates a Facebook profile, but still holds the same innovative experience as before.”  You can check out the new Ashley Boo Facebook application, which went live this morning, at apps.facebook.com/ashley-boo.

Natasha tells me that this experience “will definitely change how we go about planning and implementing future Facebook campaigns, as we will be a lot more careful about abiding by their Terms and Conditions.”

Before planning an interactive Facebook campaign of your own, or any kind of application, do your research.  Some good resources include Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities as well as Facebook Developers, specifically the developers’ forum.

Have you had similar experiences with running Facebook campaigns?  Feel free to share them with us in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.