Facebook Bans Like-Gating, No More Incentivizing Users To Like Pages

SMS Text
facebook text posts

Facebook recently published a small but important update on their developer blog where they effectively put the ban on like-gating content.

According to Facebook themselves, the definition of like-gating is: “when you force a Facebook user who has not already liked your Page to like your Page before they can see content on a particular custom tab.”

Facebook announced a change to their platform policies that will now make like-gating an outdated practice.

The updated platform policy states that “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 will still be acceptable to incentivize people to login to an app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.

Facebook says this change is being made to “ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them.”

Just like Facebook doesn’t want you to game their algorithm, it now appears that they don’t want you to artificially inflate the amount of likes on your page.

From a user’s perspective, this will certainly make Facebook a more pleasant experience. However, I suspect that more than a few Page owners will be upset with this change. We’re all going to have to work harder for likes, just as we’ve been working harder to gain organic reach.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • http://thenextscoop.com Sawaram Suthar

    Great updates. We were looking for such updates and Facebook finally launch it. Because there are many people who use paid plugin and automatic method to increase curiosity.

  • Stephen Oliver

    Does that mean can’t we use discount code offers for liking the FB page?

  • https://www.facebook.com/yorkecommunications Yorke

    Social Media is a signal of trust. More likes or +1s increases credibility. But now most of the businesses are using Like-Gating. It should be banned as it effects organic results. Do content marketing in right way. If audience likes your content, they will definitely promote your content…Don’t force….

  • http://blog.linkbird.com Karan S.

    Not very happy about this move by Facebook and yeah you said it, Matt – “We’re all going to have to work harder for likes, just as we’ve been working harder to gain organic reach.”

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.webassertive.com/ Andrew Solomon

    Very interesting and good to know. A site called Tobi has been doing an amazing job offering 50% off customers first order by liking their Facebook Page. I thought it was genius. However, what about offering prizes to people who like your page?….. “Like & Share our page for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card”. Do you think this practice is still acceptable?

    • Adam

      I would like to know about what Andrew mentioned as well about the “Like & Share our page for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card”

      It seems a little ridiculous if you are not able to offer incentives like. Will bands no longer be able to give away free tickets or merch if they share content also?

      Where is the line on this?

    • DTS

      Andrew, just my two cents, the whole idea of ‘incentivizing’ likes with gift cards, etc… certainly does put a lot of numbers on the board, but I’ve found that focusing instead on quality content/product presentation and having people naturally like your material produces a far more responsive and profitable fan base for a FB page, as you are now engaging and gaining as follower people who legitimately like what you have, not someone who merely saw an opportunity to save a few bucks by liking the page and then ignores the content afterwards.

      • http://www.webassertive.com/ Andrew Solomon

        You make a good point DTS, however… I believe a little bit of everything works. While you obviously want to build a loyal following through great content and natural promotion, it doesn’t hurt to improve social signals and gain a few fringe customers through tactics like gift cards.

  • http://www.brandignity.com Maciej

    I think this is a good move. There has been such a large focus around increasing page likes over the years. Like anything that is popular online it gets abused and dilutes its original purpose.

  • http://adaytrip.com Craig

    As a user I hate like-gating “click like to get our coupon!” That stuff drives me nuts, but as a site owner I understand that it’s important to capture and retain an audience any way you can. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and if site owners find some way around this

    • Carlos

      Can we still ask for the user’s email address for entering a competition or getting a coupon?

  • Harry

    How are they going to enforce this?

  • http://www.shuttlerock.com Jonathan Smith

    Like gating is not organic, its forceful and is old news. Glad its gone. If you want real brand advocates you wont need to Like Gate them, you will send them relevant content they want to read, engage & share.

  • http://pixelarge.com Vishal Singh

    I wonder how much Google+ will fetch out of the people whom facing is making angry with such tactics. ūüėÄ Like it was already not hard enough to rank in Google, now Facebook as well is kicking publisher’s butt with every update.

  • http://techleaks.us/ Harry

    yes, my 3 pagse got dead just because i was asking users to like my other pages via them … and the end result was my post reach is down to about 70%, is there any way can u suggest to regain that post reach?

  • http://www.surajkc.com.np Suraj KC

    sounds like a quality control procedure to me. Great job!

  • http://www.ucme.gr Lina

    So now we’ll have to pay for promoting our page because there will be no other (quick) way to get likes. Ok, will have to deal with it. Kinda ruins set strategies (for example, having planned a competition every now and then to get likes & emails and have already paid / subscribed an annual plan for the app hosting company).
    How about announcing changes 3-6 months before they apply them?

  • Sander

    Is this also effecting the “social WiFi Hotspot” Where you have to like in order to use free wifi?

  • Mark

    The problem that this change creates is that there are sites that have a huge number of likes as a result of using like-gating and newer sites that can probably never reach the same number without it. This favours sites that used something that in the past was acceptable but not now.

    Maybe FB should think a little before they implement something that the rest of us saw from the start was destined for disaster. What is their next crazy idea, let publishers BUY likes?