Facebook has come under some heavy scrutiny lately. From questions on "invasion of privacy" to suspect business practices, the social media platform has received significant criticism over the last few years. The latest change to their policies comes in response to the growing trend of pages or apps incentivizing Facebook “likes” in exchange for rewards like downloads, artwork, etc. The policy change is outlined as follows:
“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, checkin [sic] 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.”
Many artists use this system in order to reach out to new listeners and expand their audience. For example, an EDM producer may offer a free download of their single in exchange for a “like” on their Facebook page. The system works well for artists struggling to stand out among the thousands of producers clamoring wider success. It also offers a free alternative to methods bigger artists use to advertise their pages. For example, Facebook offers a “Sponsored Post” option for page-runners, a service that trades money for a glorified advertisement that sticks the post to the news feeds of anyone who has liked the page. A up-and-coming producer may not possess the finances to boost their posts and the now-banned workaround proved to be a fruitful method for increasing exposure.
While this policy change can negatively affect lesser known artists, the ban also adds to the authenticity of a page’s “likes.” The previous gaming of the system drew criticism for the inorganic ways it would increase a page’s “likes.” In a perfect world, this ban would allow artist pages to grow more naturally and better represent their actual fanbase. Unfortunately, Facebook adopts a “pay to play” system (as evidenced by the option it gives pages to boost a post) and has yet to fight against the various sites offering likes in exchange for payment.
The policy change may embody fine intentions but ultimately hurts smaller artists. Facebook’s “pay to play” system alienated many producers from the website but the social media conglomerate still remains an essential component of artist promotion and advertising. Pages have until November 5th to change their structures so it remains to be seen how artists will adapt to this new policy.
[H/T - Gizmodo]