opinion

Facebook Today

Stephen Yagielowicz

One of this year’s top stories will be the public offering of Facebook stock — and the aftermath of that debacle. In its wake, however, the corporate bean counters have been crying vociferously for the introduction of workable revenue streams, raising hopes for adult marketers whose efforts may have been hampered by the site’s restrictive content policies.

The questions remain, however, if Facebook’s nagging need to turn a profit has affected these policies to date, and what are the best ways in which a company can make its presence known to this social network’s users?

The corporate bean counters have been crying vociferously for the introduction of workable revenue streams, raising hopes for adult marketers whose efforts may have been hampered by the site’s restrictive content policies.

Let us take a closer look.

Facebook Pages allow users to build a closer relationship with their audience and customers. The service targets local businesses and places, companies, organizations, institutions, brands or products, artists, bands, public figures, entertainment, causes and community business entities in general; with numerous sub-categories for more specific applications under each of these categories.

Last revised on “leap day,” February 29, 2012, Facebook’s Pages’ terms of service add an additional layer of regulation on top of the company’s standard guidelines, which include a notice that “Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and imposes limitations on the display of nudity.” It is a biased and nebulous position that includes the statement.” At the same time, we aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”

That latter example would include content that could be considered to be illegal child pornography by some observers (and prosecutors), but apparently not by Facebook’s “family friendly” censors.

Clearly, the company does not want to make adult content promoters feel welcome, stating, “Ads may not contain adult content, including nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.”

Other restrictions of note to adult marketers include “Ads may not position products or services in a sexually suggestive manner,” and “Ads for adult friend finders or dating sites with a sexual emphasis are not permitted.”

It is not just perverts targeted by these rules, politicians are too; with Facebook insisting, “Ads may not contain content that exploits political agendas or ‘hot button’ issues for commercial use,” which is unfortunate for those seeking an election year hook into this audience.

Facebook imposes numerous other restrictions that come down to the fact that at its whim, the company can close your access to any of its services. This may not be a concern for “churn and burn” marketers, but for those adult marketers who seek a long-term relationship with the social platform’s global audience, it still takes a careful approach to get past the firm’s “network nanny” gatekeepers.

Stephen Yagielowicz is XBIZ’s senior technology editor.

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