Jennifer Bardsley, Author of Genesis Girl, Explains Why Facebook Rules are Worth the Read
When’s the last time you reviewed Facebook’s terms of service? If it’s been a while, I suggest you brush up fast. Nobody wants Facebook to delete your account without recourse, but if you violate the rules, Facebook could take all your friends away.
I’ve never run afoul of Facebook, but six years ago when I was a brand new blogger I accidentally got banned by Google Adsense after I broke a simple rule in their terms of service. I begged and pleaded, but they refused to reinstate my account. Ever since, I’ve been extra careful about reading the fine print.
Here are three things I see authors do on Facebook that could potentially get them in trouble:
Goof #1: Using their book as the profile picture on their personal Facebook page.
It’s important to understand the difference between personal profiles and public pages. On your public page, you can promote your book as much as you want. It’s okay for the main goal of your public page to be profit. But your personal profile is different.
When you sign up for Facebook you agree to their Community Standards. One of those standards is that you will use your “authentic identity” in your personal profile. The standards go on to say:
“If you want to create a presence on Facebook for your pet, organization, favorite movie, games character, or another purpose, please create a Page instead of a Facebook Profile. Pages can help you conduct business, reach out to fans, or promote a cause you care about.”
Facebook doesn’t let you make a personal profile account for your pet or business, so twisting your account into a profile for your book is very dangerous. Do some authors get away with this? Yes, but why risk it? Post a profile picture of you holding your book instead of your cover all by itself. Save book promotion for your author’s page.
Goof #2: Sponsoring a giveaway without releasing Facebook of all liability.
When you host a giveaway on your author page you must include specific language that releases Facebook of all association with your contest. It’s in the Page Guidelines under “Promotions.” The rules state that you will express:
“Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.”
I see authors break this rule all the time. Not only do you need to be careful to follow the rule yourself, but you should also be wary of automatically sharing another author’s giveaway on your page. Be sure they are following the rule otherwise you too will be guilty of breaking the terms of service. Don’t risk your own account to help someone who is careless.
Goof #3: Asking people to tag their friends as a way to enter a giveaway.
Encouraging people to include their friends sounds like a great way to boost traffic, but it’s a direct violation of Facebook’s rules. Looking back in the Page Guidelines again, we see:
“Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted).”
I saw a non-fiction publisher do this once, when a marketing intern made a major blunder. So an additional lesson from this is don’t hand your author’s page over to someone who lacks experience.
Would you like to learn more about Facebook? Please check out my article for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: Tips for Building up Your Facebook Author Page.
About the Book:
Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders.
Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable.
By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.
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-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers