“LIKE” This Page for A Chance to Win!: New Social Media Policy Changes How Companies Interact with Customers

November 3, 2014

The phrase, "'Like' this page for a chance to win," is familiar to avid Facebook users.

Advertisers commonly use this phrase to solicit Facebook users to enter their promotions. Many advertisers regard this practice, commonly referred to as "like-gating," as an optimal entry device because each entry also increases their Facebook profile and gives them more fans (at least during the promotion period).

Facebook, however, is quietly doing away with like-gating. In an August 7, 2014 post on its Developer Blog titled, "Changes to Platform Policy," Facebook stated that

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, check-in 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.

Companies and developers have until November 5, 2014, to comply with the new policy change. After November 5, any app that requires a user to "like" a page as a prerequisite to entering a promotion or gaining access to locked content will be rendered inoperable.

Although these changes represent a shift in Facebook policy, companies and developers can still meaningfully interact with customers and build a Facebook fan-base through alternatives, which are being referred to as "action-gating" or "form-gating." Instead of requiring a user to "like" a page for the chance to enter a promotion, companies may, for example, ask consumers to (1) provide email addresses, (2) sign up for company newsletters, or (3) simply complete an entry form.