Is Facebook’s “Promotional” Crackdown Justified?

Is Facebook’s “Promotional” Crackdown Justified?

This article discusses a surprising recent crackdown at Facebook where the company is removing cover photos (without notice) from personal pages.  Upon removal, when you try to upload a new photo, you receive the following message:

Pick a unique photo from your life to feature at the top of your timeline. Note: This space is not meant for banner ads or other promotions. Please don’t use content that is commercial, promotional, copyright-infringing or already in use on other people’s covers.

In this class, we’ve talked quite a bit about companies laid back approach to laws about image copyrights, privacy restrictions and freedom of expression.  Isn’t a cover photo just another way of expressing yourself and your interest?  If the company is taking down images that they believe “promote” television shows, does that mean cover photos featuring logos of sports team are the next to go?  What do you think is the reason behind the sudden crackdown and do you think this could start a trend with other social media sites (ex. Instagram)?

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6 thoughts on “Is Facebook’s “Promotional” Crackdown Justified?

  1. As we all know, Facebook is struggling with its business model and is trying different ways to monetize its service. Since it’s free for company to upload whatever cover photos it wants, FB doesn’t want to give marketer such a nice free advertising or marketing opportunity. Later FB may start charging for uploading promotional cover photos. As I see it, company’s FB page is owned and managed by company itself, it has right to upload any cover photo it likes, Maybe in the future, company will be charged for opening its official page on FB and whenever someone mentions a brand or a company’s name, it will be charged,too? That’s insane.

  2. Facebook has gone from a cute social site to a money maker again (cue evil laugh). As you can see from their stock price they are not messing around and if you want a band’s image or a disney character you need to go straight to the source and interact with the brand. Smart on their part but may piss people off. For the most part, they will let people do what they want they just need to add a step to the process.

  3. I am unsure how far this actually goes into personal pages and such but what if I want to promote my friends small business? Would FB disallow me cover photo to be their campaign or ad? Pretty interesting that FB is taking this approach because i feel like now there could be (and probably will be) some actions against plagiarism, copyright, etc. I think this is going to impede on people’s personal pages and the way they use FB to express themselves. And what if I want to use a picture that my friend tagged me in? It’s essentially their photo but if its of me and tagged of me why shouldn’t i be able to use it to express who i am via my cover photo? Very intersting move by FB… i think they are just making things to complicated and implementing too many rules. Users use FB for the ease of being social, FB is complicating this.

  4. This is getting pretty ridiculous…the cover photo is just further expression of a person, and for Facebook to try and control that is wild. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started dictating what people can post on their timeline next. What’s going to happen is that people are going to be more creative with getting around it. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a trend that would start with other networks, but when facebook first started to switch things up and people weren’t happy, they flocked in droves to Twitter. I predict that this will happen again if they keep it up.

  5. I think it’s justified because it’s a business opportunity for them and I’d assume they don’t really dig that deep into a personal page. FB did something similiar where they without notice banned certain profiles (i.e. you couldn’t have a profile with a brand name like Samsung Electronics and that is why they created actual pages for companies).

  6. Nice Kaitlyn. I agree with @weiwu0325. Earlier this term we addressed facebook’s evolving revenue model when discussing the article “Facebook Will Begin Charging Companies for Posting Coupons and Offers.” I believe this new cover photo restriction is another attempt to milk additional advertising/marketing revenue from corporate users. Why give away free advertising space if there is potential to charge fees? Months back carmaker Ford abandoned portions of its FB footprint due to disappointing results, so it will be interesting to see how this type of a restriction will persuade other corporate users to alter their FB usage.

    This article actually ties in very well to Leah Thelen’s article on trends/predictions for social. Could these FB restriction’s contribute to an advertiser exodus from FB? Probably not, but you never know what FB miscalculation may benefit one of its rivals.

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