Facebook defines branded content as
any post — including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos, and Live videos — that features a third party product, brand, or sponsor. It is typically posted by media companies, celebrities, or other influencers.
and branded content on pages as: content originating from the Page owner that features third party products, brands, or sponsors that are different from the Page owner.
The Branded Content Policies
As it stands currently (April 28th) the policy language states that branded content on pages is “only allowed from Verified Pages (with the blue badge)” and that they must also follow very specific guidelines.
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What this means in black and white
- ONLY pages that are verified (with the blue badge) are allowed to post anything for anyone else (whether or not you’ve been paid to do so).
- If you are a verified (with the blue badge) page, you may ONLY post branded (sponsored) content when it meets the Facebook requirements.
- If you are a verified (with the blue badge) page, and you do post branded content, and tag the owner appropriately, the owner will be notified of your post, have access to all the stats of your post, have the ability to share your post to their page, and pay to boost your post. They will not be able to edit or delete your post.
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Q: Does this really apply to me?
A: If you own a facebook page, yes, it applies to you.
Q: How do I verify my page on Facebook?
A. If your page is not yet verified on Facebook, and you’d like it to be, this post outlines how to request verification. or you can download the free printable checklist at the end of the post.
4/29/16 edited to add a quote from a chat with Facebook Rep:
We’re (Facebook) only accepting verification requests from Pages that represent celebrities, public figures, sports teams, media and entertainment. Our Pages Team is extremely backed up with Brand Requests at the moment and need some time to catch up, that is why we are unable to accept them at the moment.
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Q: If I want to share a friend’s post (no money or affiliate links involved, I just love her stuff or found it encouraging), can I?
A: Technically, if you enjoyed an inspirational piece that you read and wanted to share it with your follwers by posting the URL and a comment on your blog page, you would need to disclose and tag the source of that article and it is 3rd party because it’s not content owned by you. Using the share button to share her content from her page to yours is acceptable.
(updated 4/29/16 to add) However, if you’ve applied for verification one Rep has said that you may “share branded content on a non-verified page” while you await verification. (I assume this means share by using the share button).
What concerns me then is that Facebook has the potential power then go to that blog owner and say “Katie promoted your post and x0,000 people saw it, so you owe us $x00.00 for advertising on our platform.” Even though the 3rd party did not ask for, or pay you to promote them.
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Q: What is Facebook’s reasoning behind this?
A: Well, they haven’t included me in the board meetings or strategy meetings, and I’m not very good at mind reading, but if I had to speculate….
(updated 4/30) Posting content that you do not own to your facebook account (including to profile, page, event and/or groups) is a violation of the Terms of Service (TOS) you agreed to when you opened your account. (See TOS here). Facebook has not been enforcing this policy, but appears to have decided to do so from here on out.
It appears that Facebook is tired of not being able to control the small bloggers and small companies whose posts are becoming more ad-ish, and they also don’t like to not be compensated for the promotions those bloggers do using their platform. It also appears that this was their intention all along. Ads may be used to promote content not your own, but posts of content you don’t own are not allowed.
By prohibiting unverified pages to post branded content and/or prohibiting your page from getting verified, Facebook is denying you permission to post any ads at all, clearing out A LOT of ads that were previously being shown to Facebook’s audience. Now, Facebook may only allow pages to be verified (and I am speculating here) if the page works with larger BIG companies who have more Facebook friendly advertising budgets or who already have advertising accounts with Facebook making it easier to charge the brand when someone promotes the brand. In my opinion, this is Facebook’s way of broadcasting the message that if it’s anything but purely social chit chat, someone is going to pay for it to be shown on their platform.
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Q: Will my Facebook post get seen at all if I don’t verify my page?
A: I can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t appear that Facebook plans to show anyone’s posts at all, unless you pay. I get the feeling that if you’re self promoting only, they may leave you alone, and you’ll just be left to organic luck. But if you want to be seen or if you want to continue to promote others – someone’s going to pay for that and this is Facebook’s way of enforcing it.
There is no current information on what will happen if an unverified page continues to promote 3rd party content. You can assume if you’re not compliant and the review team finally reaches your page, they are capable of just turn off views for your page altogether. I can’t imagine they will have the manpower to monitor individual posts from thousands of bloggers daily, but it would be very easy to simply shut you down for non compliance to their stated policy.
It seems like almost every news item PG has read concerning Facebook lately moves it closer to his MTTIW classification.