Posted May 18, 2011 9:42 am by with 2 comments

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Facebook has removed language from its promotions policy that prohibited promotions around age, residency, tobacco, gambling and dairy. While I don’t see how dairy is a threat to anyone other than the severely lactose intolerant it’s an interesting move.

It’s not like Facebook is ‘promoting these things. They are simply removing their original intention to police these things themselves and letting the various versions of the law in each state and country be the rule setter. In essence, Facebook is washing its hands of any implied wrong-doing or unethical giveaways on its platform and letting the outside world monitor it for them.

According to Inside Facebook

Facebook updated its promotions guidelines this week, and has now confirmed that it no longer blanket-prohibits promotions (including give-aways) for tobacco, dairy, gambling, firearms, prescription drugs, and gasoline.

Promoters must still comply with restrictions in the juridictions where the promotions are held, but Facebook has dropped its site-wide restrictions that were originally designed to preserve local laws. Marketers can also require a purchase for entry, and target those below age 18 or who live in certain countries such as India and Norway.

The change could lead big brands in the now-unrestricted industries to step up their marketing efforts on Facebook, drawing spend away from more traditional marketing mediums such as TV and print. It will also allow all marketers more flexibility in promotion targeting and rules.

Nothing out of the ordinary or eyebrow raising really other than the thought of these kinds of things on Facebook is not what I would like to see personally. But that’s just me and the beauty part is that I can choose whether they will get to me or not. Of course with Facebook the question always gets to protecting minors but that’s a grey area left for a full debate with someone else.

Let’s just be honest here. Facebook is a business. Businesses need to generate revenue. The previously ‘outlawed’ areas represent considerable revenue opportunity for Facebook so Facebook is going to loosen the controls so they can get the revenue.

It makes sense from a business perspective and there is little if any use of turning this into some kind of moral and ethical play. Facebook doesn’t respond to that kind of talk anyway so why bother. What’s kind of humorous is how Facebook further described the action they took.

Facebook wrote that it removed these specific prohibitions to simplify the “promotions guidelines to make them easier to understand and consistent with the format of other Facebook Terms & Policies.” This does not make these kinds of promotions or sweepstakes legal — it merely means Facebook will defer to local laws rather than enforce its own.

Ahhhh, I see. This was just to make things easier to understand. I should have known since Facebook has worked so hard to make all of their policies streamlined and easy to understand in the past (ahem!).

Well, get ready for some fun and interesting promotions through Facebook now that this door has been opened a little wider. I can see it now.

Win a trip to Vegas along with all the prescription drugs we can ‘legally’ get into your hands so you’ll feel more willing to use that new Colt 45 you’ll be carrying to protect yourself while you pick up your free gallon of milk at the local 24 hour Munchie Hut. All of this while your topping off your tank with your free gas!

You gotta be in it to win it! Enter today!

  • Ann Williams

    The last paragraph in italics and subsequent “in it” line was really funny. Still laughing.

  • Cynthia Boris

    Dairy? Hmm, I wonder if that’s related to a recent couponing incident at Ralphs in Southern California. They put Kraft cheese on sale so cheap, it would be free with coupon, but local stores had to raise the price because the Dairy Council said they couldn’t sell cheese that cheap. I now have this image of the Dairy Council being made up of characters from the Sopranos and Harry Potter.