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Facebook crackdown shuts down NZ business page – 9,000 fans lost

A small New Zealand business has had its Facebook fan page shut down, losing nearly 9,000 fans in the process. The business, Velvet Burger, had apparently broken Facebook’s rules on competitions.
Whether or not the action is part of a broader Facebook crack-down remains to be seen but, according to Lance O’Grady, social media director at NZ e-commerce company, ExceedOnline, at least one other business has also lost its Facebook page recently.

“Ïts not clear whether Facebook has actively got people scouring business pages checking on compliance or whether it’s got some sort of algorithm that automatically checks compliance.”
“Either way, its clear that Facebook is enforcing its rules, and businesses investing in Facebook promotions need to be aware of those rules.”
O’Grady has outlined the Velvet burger story at the company blog.
He says that the story starts with the NZ Lottery, where the prize-pool was recently standing at $NZ26million dollars.
Velvet Burger, who has one store in Auckland and another in Dunedin, decided to share any winnings it got from buying a lottery ticket. It promised to share any winnings equally with all those clicking on their Facebook page like button.
More than 9,000 people did so.
But then Facebook apparently decided the promotion was in breach of its rules and shut down the page.
Velvet Burger’s promotion was undoubtedly cheek.
But Facebook’s reaction has been remarkable, and it is at the least arguable as to whether the company has contributed to the problem itself by making its terms and conditions so difficult to find.
As O’Grady comments at the Exceed online blog “They are buried so deep in the site that it is almost like they don’t want you to see them. They talk in circles, and speak in vague terms that are harder to solve than the Da Vinci Code.”
Even so, any business investing time and effort in Facebook promotions or marketing clearly needs to be aware of them.
O’Grady has, fortunately, provided a plain English summary of the Facebook rules in his blog post.

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