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Facebook Updates Platform Policy to Prohibit “Like-Gating”

Facebook's recently updated Platform Policy for developers states, "Only incentivize a person to log into your app, like your app's Page, enter a promotion on your app's Page, or check-in at a place. Don't incentivize other actions. Effective November 5th, 2014, you may no longer incentivize people to like your app's Page."

The announcement describing this change states, "You must not incentivize people to use social plug-ins 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."

This means marketers and developers can no longer "like-gate" a Page (or its content) by requiring people to like a Page in order to earn rewards or points or to gain access to content, or operate a contest or sweepstakes that requires liking a Page to enter. However, it is not yet clear whether this new policy will be interpreted to prohibit promotions where users enter by liking a post on a Page (as opposed to liking the Page itself to access the entry page).

Marketers can still ask users to like a Page as long as no incentive is offered for liking the Page.

Facebook provides these examples of what is no longer allowed:

  • "Share this link on Facebook to watch the full video."
  • "Invite 10 friends to use this app and earn 50 free message points!"

This is an example of an incentive that is allowed:

  • "Invite 10 friends to use this app and earn 50 free message points for every friend that accepts!"

Existing apps should be modified by November 5 to comply with the new policy; apps launched after August 7, 2014, should be compliant when they launch.

Facebook has indicated that this update is to encourage "quality" connections where people "like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives."

Facebook also announced that games that include mandatory or optional in-app charges must now disclose this in the app's description, either on Facebook or other platforms it supports. This is to clearly disclose that the game may charge users during gameplay.

This client alert is a publication of Loeb & Loeb LLP and is intended to provide information on recent legal developments. This client alert does not create or continue an attorney client relationship nor should it be construed as legal advice or an opinion on specific situations.