What you CANNOT do on Facebook. Page admins take note of these rules

facebook delete What you CANNOT do on Facebook. Page admins take note of these rulesDid you hear about Velvet Burger? They are one of the most recent companies to have their Facebook page deleted for breaking the rules. They waved ‘bye bye’ to almost 10,000 fans in the process. You can read their message to their customers below.

You may have also heard Hell Pizza went the same way – losing their page and 20,000 fans along with it. Hell managed to get their page back through someone-who-knew-someone who worked at Facebook, but sadly – in most cases – if this happens to you, you’ll be starting from scratch.

In case you’re thinking being in a little country (Velvet Burger and Hell are in New Zealand) or that having far fewer fans will prevent this from happening to you, think again! Don’t get all up in arms with Facebook about this either, the only person to blame is … you.

velvet1 225x300 What you CANNOT do on Facebook. Page admins take note of these rules
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When you created your Facebook page for your business you ticked a box saying you’ve read and agree to the terms and conditions. I know, I know, of course you didn’t actually read them (and I don’t blame you, there are pages and pages to read) but ignorance is definitely not bliss.

As Facebook says “We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason.” And they’re not kidding. Don’t think you’ll get a warning either! Poof! One day it could just be gone.

The bad news is claiming you didn’t know you were breaking the rules won’t cause Facebook to reverse your page deletion decision.

The good news? With a little learning you can prevent the next victim being your page.

There are Facebook rules that page admins break on a daily basis, so included in the list of what you CANNOT do that follows below are no doubt many you’ve been guilty of.

Even if you’ve been playing by the rules, you might read them and think “But everyone does that! Why can’t I?”. Well to paraphrase mothers around the world “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”. Kidding aside, it really isn’t worth flouting the rules.

So here’s my list of the most commonly broken Facebook rules you simply cannot do with your page. Pay attention so your page is not the next in line for the chopping block!

Cover photo rules

You know that lovely big new image at the top of your page? As tempting as I know it is, you cannot use it as an ad.

What does that mean? The list includes:

You cannot…

  • Include your contact details – ie: no website address, no phone number, no email and so on. That’s what your about box and info page are for. Basically if it’s a way to get in touch with you, or if there’s a field for that information on your info page, then it cannot go in your cover photo.
  • Include pricing or purchase information – ie: ‘40% off…’ or ‘Get yours now at our website…”
  • Reference any “user interface element” – ie:  you can’t ask for, mention or even use a graphic to point to Like, Share or any other Facebook feature. Facebook even makes special mention that you cannot encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines.
  • Include calls to action – ie: ‘Get yours now’ or ‘Tell your friends’.
  • Use an image you do not own or have the rights to use, that is false, deceptive or misleading.

By the way, your cover image should be 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall and under 100 kbs in file size.

Want to read Facebook’s new cover photo rules for yourself? Here they are and here are some examples of cover photos from brands breaking the new rules.

Promotion Rules

Here’s where you’re going to feel guilty as these are broken all the time. It’s these rules that caused Velvet Burger to lose their page (and their 9,500 fans along with it).

You cannot…

  • Run any sort of promotion, competition, sweepstakes etc on your Facebook page using Facebook’s features and functionality – ie: make sure you use an app or ‘custom page’ and not ‘like this update’ / ‘share this photo’ / ‘upload your photo to our page’ / ‘add a comment’ (and so on) to enter (a more complete list follows below).
  • Hold Facebook responsible: So you must include a disclaimer that releases Facebook of any responsibility – eg: You’ve got to mention something along the lines of “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook”. This is best put on the page/s of your app and in your terms and conditions on your website.
  • Following on from above, you must also disclose who the entrant is giving their information to. The usual wording is “Participants are providing information to [your company name and the name of any other companies who see entrants information] and not to Facebook.”
  • Use any Facebook features or functionality as part of the promotion or participation other than liking your page, checking in or connecting to your app.
  • Use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism – ie: the act of liking your page or checking in cannot automatically register or enter the person in your promotion. Basically a condition of entry can be to like your page but the fan must then complete their entry on your Facebook app or custom page.
  • Use the Like button as a way of voting (eg: most likes wins is not okay). Any other Facebook feature or functionality cannot be used for voting either (eg: The person who invites the most new fans wins …)
  • Notify winners through Facebook – ie: don’t use Facebook message, chat or posting on the winner’s page, your page or another company’s page to notify winners.

These rules apply when promoting your promotion as well! So when you advertise (eg: Facebook ads) or reference a promotion (eg: in a Wall post) you need to follow the rules

These types of promotions are therefore NOT OK (often called Wall Promotions) because you’re using Facebook features and functionality to run the promotion:

Share this [update / photo / video etc] to be in to win…

Upload a photo / video

Every 25th new fan wins…

Add a comment …

Invite your friends to like our page …

Answer this question 

Photo with the most likes wins 

Data collection

Whether promotional or not, whenever you collect content or information from a Facebook user, you have to make it clear that you (and not Facebook) are collecting it.

You’ll need to notify Facebook users and obtain their consent plus tell them (or link to your website privacy policy or terms and conditions page) how their information will be used by you.

Your page name

Your page name and your Facebook username must reflect / match your company name.

So if your company sells milk called Moo Juice then your page name should be ‘Moo Juice’ or ‘Moo Juice Milk’ but not ‘Milk’ as you can’t call your page a generic term – eg: ‘Beer’ or ‘Pizza’.

Your page name cannot be entirely in capitals unless your organisation’s name is an acronym. So the Bank of New Zealand can call their page BNZ but just because your logo has your name all in capitals, if it’s not an acronym, your page name cannot be all caps.

You also cannot use character symbols, such as bullet points or excessive punctuation or trademark symbols, in your page name.

Facebook Ads

Before you run Facebook Ads, have a careful read through the Facebook Advertising Guidelines here. There are so many that it deserves it’s own article so for now you’ll have to do your own homework ;)

I think I’ve set a new record for the number of uses of the word ‘cannot’ in one article!

Given how often these rules are broken and the fact the Facebook’s terms and conditions sprawl over multiple pages; I hope you’ve learned a lot. Please consider liking or sharing this article with your network to help other business owners, marketers and page admins avoid falling into the page deletion trap! Just pick one of the sharing options at the top of the page or below, thank you in advance :)

By far the best way to increase your “Likes” & keep those who have “Liked” your page engaged, is to create competitions and promotions.

We’ve created a tool that you can use to create competitions and promotions for your Facebook page & website. 

To give it a go for free, click here.

DISCLAIMER: Do not use this article to decide if what you’re doing is or is not okay! Other than the fact that I haven’t made a complete list of ALL the rules, Facebook updates the rules all the time! You’ll need to do your own research or check it past your Facebook Rep or agency to be sure. You can get started here: http://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php


  1. Dave says

    I could probably fix computers for a living but when it comes to Facebook I have encountered so many problems that I have literally given up.

  2. says

    hello, i have read everything but am still not sure if my page is safe or not. email me at the email given and i will pass you my page link so you can check if you are willing to help. cheers!

  3. says

    Great article. We ran a contest for a client about a year or two ago and sweated bullets because it wasn’t done correctly, and we didn’t realize until it was in full swing that we were breaking the rules. Since then we use WildFire. These type of apps are great because they’re not that expensive and you know you’re following the rules. I’ll share these tips with our peeps for sure :)

  4. JB says

    Great article. We need to be frank here though In our area (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada) 90% of facebook admins are breaking some or all of these rules at any given time. As much as Facebook would like everyone to adhere to their TOS this seems to be an act of futility. Unfortunately there is no easy answer unless they decide to ban everyone. I really enjoyed the article though and it made me second guess the way I promote on my own facebook page. Thanks for the article. Great site btw.

  5. Jessie says

    Hi, if you have a page, are you allowed to share other pages on yours?
    Because apparently facebook is taking down pages that do?

  6. says

    Gosh! I’ve never known these rules. Thank your for making us aware about them. I’ll be taking care now, before making any changes to my FB fan page, especially when changing the cover.

  7. says

    Great tips, thank you. This will definitely prevent lots of FB page admins from scratching their heads after they receive a warning or infraction for a violation with their cover photo.

  8. LE says

    What about when people just sell things openly on their page? Is this a no no? Seems like you are talking about promotions. Would just advertising that your retail store is having a sale be against the rules? I’ve seen auctions taking place on a weekly basis. Are those illegal?

  9. says

    We do everything by the book, but our clients see those pages who do not and wonder why we aren’t doing the same “fun” promotions. I understand Facebook says they will take down a page, but no one ever sees it happen. It’s a weird predicament. We keep preaching to our clients the proper ways of engaging, yet they don’t see a reason to do it correctly, if no one else is.

  10. Angela Steele says

    Do you happen to have a companion post on “What you CAN do on Facebook?” Doesn’t seem like there’s much left over after getting through all of the CANNOTs…

  11. says

    Hi Anna,
    This was a very informative post indeed. I made a Facebook fan page few days back and have been working on it to build an audience for it using Facebook ads, so yes it’s costing a little money.

    What I am afraid of is if my page gets deleted. I don’t think I am doing anything against there policy. Could you please take a moment to checkout my page? – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nomoresmokinginfo/431414573614653 and pass on your comments to me on how prone is it looking to get deleted? I would really appreciate your help.

    Best wishes,
    Anirudh Bahadur

    P.S. Great post! :)

  12. Lori says

    Please Help….
    I do not have a personal page on facebook and created a fan page for my new website. I have found that there is limited function w/ a business fan page. Do I need to create a personal page under a separate email or should I submit a form to have my business page converted into a personal page? I would like to keep the same email for both but finding I can’t create a personal page w/ my existing email now. Think I messed this one up….Any direction would be much appreciated :)

  13. says

    Please if you could look at my new Facebook Page and tell me all the things I’m doing wrong. I just started it about 2 months ago and I don’t want to be deleted. Thank you.

  14. says

    Facebook took down my group with no warning just one morning it was gone, it was set to private and had over 1800 members! its very annoying and i dont know what I did wrong?!

  15. AJ says

    Is it ethical for a company to set up a local community facebook page with potential infringement of copyright photos of that local town probably taken from the web, attracting 1000’s of likes for the page and then the page creators add local photography business links to the page gaining them 1000’s of potential likes and business? They’re using copyright material to gain a huge fan base!

  16. says

    Thank you for the article… I know it was a year ago and MUCH has changed on FB. would you mid taking a quick peek at my link provided and tell me if I am doing ok?
    I never run and ad or promotion. I do post ‘Awareness groups we support’ and post links that go back to my website. this is ok yes?
    thank you for any advise you can offer ;)

  17. says

    HELP!! Facebook has been trying to force me to verify I’m real by entering a mobile phone number so they can send me a text code, I do not own a mobile phone or have access to one, I need something that works, Facebook is ONLY allowing me to enter a cellular phone number to verify by text, it gives me NO other option to verify, no home phone, no email, nothing, just cellular SMS txt message, If anyone knows how to do this without a cell phone please let me know by emailing me at: [email protected]
    All of the current “send sms msgs for free” websites fail to work with this, Pinger.com doesn’t work with this either.
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Email me back right away, There’s gotta be someone out there with the answer!!!!
    Thankyou, Tyler.

  18. Ben McClain says

    After reading these testimonials, maybe someone could explain what fb was hoping to provide. With so many rules made and overlooked, how can it be regulated? How can we as users help to see this market become what is intended? I am not on fb yet, but my daughter thinks I need to join.

  19. says

    Has this changed?

    Above I clicked on cover photo rules that you linked. And they do not have any of this up anymore. I do recall seeing this in the past. But I suspect something has changed.

  20. says

    Hello I have a facebook page for beauty and health . Am I allowed to share pictures from other health pages as long as I link it to there page & am I allowed to find pictures of the internet and put them on my page


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