Although the practice has long been out of favor, Facebook is officially banning the gating of content in exchange for Page “Likes.”
In order to get people to like their Facebook Pages, social media marketers have dangled all sorts of carrots for users, including enticing videos, articles, discount offers and games. No more says Facebook, and it’s given Page admins 90 days to quit trying to “artificially incentivize” people to Like them.
Facebook announced the restriction in an update to its Platform Policy, where it wrote:
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, checkin 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.
Ultimately, this is a good thing for marketers. Getting somebody to artificially like your Facebook page means they aren’t truly engaged with the brand. Plus it’s annoying to have to go through extra steps just to view a piece of content. Most people simply won’t do it, and will leave with a negative image of the brand.
By banning the “Like” gate, Facebook is giving social media marketers a chance to come up with more creative ways to engage people on the social media platform. Of course, the realists among us will also recognize that Facebook wants marketers to stop trying to build followings organically and just pay to get an audience. With organic reach at non-existent levels, that may be the only choice left for marketers looking to leverage the platform.