Yesterday morning Facebook announced changes to their Site Governance documents which as a number of people pointed out removed the ability of users to profit from their status updates. More specifically Facebook states that “you will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain”. While I’m assuming that this is supposed to be straight forward about selling things through your Facebook profile, part of me wonders why Facebook needed to make this explicit statement.
Haters Call It “Selling Out”
Excuse my slang but is there anything wrong with posting updates that generate revenue? While I believe the intention of this new rule is to block pay-per-tweet-like companies, should it be completely banned? Where do you draw the line? If I am to write a post for example about the new Social Media Marketing program that I just launched through New Media School (had to drop a quick plug), is that posting an update for my own commercial gain?
Ultimately the definition becomes unclear but it’s pretty obvious what Facebook is trying to prevent: companies from launching get rich quick services through your Facebook profile and to prevent people like Jeremy Schoemaker from abusing the system (p.s. I’m not a hater Jeremy). In the world of internet marketing, you gotta try out just about anything but there is definitely a line you can cross (as we’ve seen before).
Goodbye Generic Pages
Facebook has also made a few other adjustments to their Facebook Governance document to clarify their stance on things. The largest that will impact the generic page creators is , “Pages are special profiles that may only be used to promote a business or other commercial, political, or charitable organization or endeavor (including non-profit organizations, political campaigns, bands, and celebrities). ” There were a number of businesses that were being generated around building out different generic Facebook Page verticals.
Honestly I thought the idea was really smart but the biggest issue was that it was ripe for abuse. Consider all the groups that were created prior to the limitations on sending out updates. Facebook is most definitely smart to err on the side of over protection to avoid users getting annoyed. There goes all those questionable business strategies though. Wasn’t that what the internet was built on though?
As we previously wrote, some Iranians had interpreted Facebook’s statement that you couldn’t “use Facebook if you are in a country embargoed by the U.S., or are on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals” to mean that Iran was banned. At the time, Facebook clarified to us that they won’t block Iranians, just commercial activity on the site from the country. As such, Facebook has updated the policy to the following:
If you are located in a country embargoed by the United States, or are on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals you will not engage in commercial activities on Facebook (such as advertising or payments) or operate a Platform application or website.
So go ahead and welcome all Iranian members! You are free to use the site as you wish … as long as it’s not to make money. If you want to read more about Facebook’s proposed policies. Facebook has also stated that they will be providing a redlined version of the document in the very near future.