3 Facebook Policies YOU Need to Know About

I think it’s safe to say we have all broken one of Facebook’s policies whether small or large at some point. We have had to jump through Facebook’s hoops to unlock our page or profile and receive the good graces of Facebook once again.

The problem is we didn’t know about the policy in the first place. We’re just attempting to keep up with Facebook’s changes and are doing the best we can. We’re a nonprofit for gosh-sakes! We aren’t trying to hurt anyone.

The problem is Facebook is a huge company. They don’t have the time to tease out who’s who, good intentions and honest mistakes. Facebook will work with you to right wrongs and clear up misunderstandings but it can take a while and in the meantime you’re down for the count.

This piece will flush out the top three Facebook policies you need to know about to prevent unnecessary pain and frustration.

Fake Profiles

The policy:

Facebook does its best to shut down fake profiles according to section four of its terms of use:

“Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:

  • You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission
  • You will not create more than one personal account.”
  • Common mistakes:

    Nonprofits most commonly break this rule when they create a special profile to access their organization’s page or ad account through. This profile and its login information are then shared with the rest of the team to give people access to the page.


    If Facebook closes your fake profile, you can lose access to your organization’s Facebook page as well as well as any ad accounts tied to this profile. This is especially true if the fake profile was the only “user” on the page or ad account. This means you can lose access to any ad credits or ads data inside the account.


    Don’t create or use a shared profile to access your organization’s page(s) or ad account(s). Beyond the consequences above there are numerous security concerns with this method.

    Instead, simply add your teammate’s personal profiles to the page(s) and ad account(s). This is how Facebook wants you to give permission to different accounts and how the platform is designed to work.

    Do note: personal profiles that have access to a Facebook page are not publicly linked to the page in any way.

    How to add someone to a Facebook page.

    How to add someone to a Facebook ad account.

    Another option is to use Facebook Business Manager to manage your organization’s page and ad account. Again you will be giving access to individual users not shared profiles.

    Changing your Page Name

    The policy

    Facebook doesn’t freely allow page managers to change their page’s name once established.

    Facebook doesn’t want a page to gain a number of likes under one name and then change the name of the page to something else. This can lead to user confusion, situations of bait and switch and fraud.

    Once a page has over 200 likes all page name changes are by request only. You may only change the name of your page once. After that initial change, you will need to appeal directly to Facebook for any addition page name changes.

    facebook page change

    Common Mistakes

    Most commonly nonprofits run into this issue when making small changes to their organization’s page name for clarity. They’ll make these changes not realizing there are limits and request processes to change a page’s name.

    facebook page change bellingham


    Your page’s name can be locked down and inaccessible to you.


    Knowledge is king! Know that changing your page’s name is no small matter and you only have one easy shot at it. Think it through and make it count!

    20% text rule

    The policy:

    Facebook only allows ad images to contain 20% text.

    “Ads that have more than 20% of text in their image won’t be approved to run on Facebook or Instagram. Too much text can look like spam and make people think that your ad is low quality. Make sure to use the headline and body of your ad to tell people more about why you’re advertising and what you want them to do.”

    Common Mistakes:

    Submitting ad images that contain more than 20% text.

    The Results:

    The ad is not approved. (In some cases the ad will be approved for a short time and then pulled)

    The Solution:

    Use a grid tool checker to check all your ad images before your submit them for review. This extra step will save you time, effort and frustration over rejected ads.

    Learn more about the 20% text rule and how to stay within it.

    Links to relevant documents:

    We strongly suggestion that you bookmark the following links or keep them someplace handy. There are many more policies we did not cover in this piece you will need to know. Again knowledge is power. The more you know, the less likely you are to mistakenly violate one of Facebook’s policies.

    Community guidelines:

    Page guidelines:

    Advertising policies:

    Facebook terms upon sign up:

    cecil_the_lion trending story

    Why sharing trending stories is a must for your nonprofit

    On July 28th the story of Cecil the Lion started to trend on social media. It wasn’t long before the hash tag #CecilTheLion had topped the list on Twitter trends.

    In case you missed the story, Cecil was a protected lion killed for sport by a now hated American dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer, who is believed to have paid about $55,000 for the privilege. Cecil the lion was one of the most beloved and famous animals in Zimbabwe’s national parks.

    Quickly Dr. Palmer was wanted by Zimbabwe officials and became the most hated man on the internet. The people were demanding justice.

    Daily Kos saw the story and quickly spun up an ActionSprout call to action demanding the justice supporters so desperately desired.

    The results were amazing. 

    Within five hours of posting the action on Facebook they were nearing 16,000 actions completed.

    When the dust settled two days later Daily Kos had earned over 70,000 signatures.

    daily kos metrics

    Daily Kos’ Engagement rates were through the roof!

    • 41% of viewers completed the action
    • 90% of folks who engaged with the post (liked, commented or shared) went on to complete it
    • 6.2% of all impressions lead to action completions
    • 63.5% of their reach was viral

    At one point, 857 people were on at once signing the petition!


    What made this action about Cecil the Lion so successful?

    It was based on a trending topic. 

    Trending topics and breaking news always perform well as actions. It’s a good idea to keep your eye open for stories that apply to your cause.

    It was a trending topic people were passionate about. 

    Passionate is an understatement when it comes to Cecil the lion. A group of supporters on Twitter were asking for blood at one point. People were fired up about Cecil.

    Daily Kos used a mobile optimized action.

    Daily Kos used a mobile optimized action. As you can see the majority of action takers were doing so from a mobile device. More and more supporters are accessing Facebook content and petitions from their mobile devices.

    What does this mean at the end of the day?

    You may be thinking “Sure this is interesting, but how can this help my nonprofit?”

    When supporters completed Daily Kos’s action they opted into their mailing list. In five hours time Daily Kos had added almost 20,000 supporter email address to their mailing list. These supporters knowingly opted into their mailing list in support of Cecil and Daily Kos at large.

    So what could a trending action do for your nonprofit? A lot- potentially thousands of new email address.

    Want to take advantage of trending actions for your cause? Learn more about ActionSprout and get started for free. 

    Facebook trending

    Facebook Trending: What It Means for Your Cause

    The Facebook Trending Feature was launched for all users in January 2014. Similar to Twitter’s Trends feature, Trending lists the topics and hashtags that have recently spiked in popularity on Facebook. Clicking on a trending topic will show you more content on that subject. Facebook organizes this content into five categories.

    1. Articles shows you how news organizations are covering the story
    2. In the Story shows you posts from people who are part of the story
    3. Friends and Groups shows you what people in your network are saying
    4. Near the Scene shows you posts from people near where the story is unfolding
    5. Live Feed shows you a real-time stream of reactions from people around the world

    Only public posts and posts from your network (like updates from friends or groups that you belong to) will be shown in trending.

    How does Facebook determine what topics are trending?

    According to Facebook:

    “The list [of Trending topics] is personalized to show you relevant stories based on a number of factors, including

    1. Pages you’ve liked
    2. Your location
    3. What’s trending across Facebook.

    For each trend, posts from verified sources or from people or Pages that you’re connected to will appear higher in the trending feed.”

    Facebook Trending on Andriod

    Recently the Trending feature was expanded to Andriod users in the US. Service for iOS and other countries is reportedly on the way.

    The mobile version follows all the same rules as desktop and has full functionality.

    Facebook trending

    How do I use Facebook Trending for my cause?

    There are a few ways you can leverage Trending for your cause. All three strategies listed below have the power to increase the reach and engagement your content enjoys on Facebook.

    1. Generate content ideas

    The Trending feature can give you great insight into what people are talking about and what they’re interest in. With this one go beyond simply what is trending and look at what kinds of content are trending. In other words look for patterns. Are there subjects or themes that seem to keep trending over time? Is it usually news stories or videos? Finding these patterns and using them can work to your advantage. This could give you a better idea of what content resonates best with Facebook users empowering you to reach and engage more people.

    2. Join the Conversation

    Share trending content that matters to your organization and ask your audience for their thoughts. If a subject is already being talked about, why not bring that conversation to your page? This is likely to increase your page’s reach and audience engagement. It could also connect your audience to each other, strengthening your supporter’s network. When doing so pay attention to what hashtags are being used around the topic and be sure to use the right ones. Hashtags connect your post to the larger conversation.

    3. Use Trending Content in your Actions

    Actions on trending topics and current events trend to perform really well, reaching and engaging a greater number of people. If you notice a trending topic that relates to your cause be sure to create an action around it. This strategy is the most time sensitive of the three. To get the most bang for your buck try to create and post the action as soon as possible as trends could come and go within a day or two.


    Facebook Engagement Spikes Around Government Shutdown

    Facebook and social media are abuzz concerning the United States Government shutdown. At times like this, with elected officials in Washington DC failing miserably, it doesn’t matter what your political leanings are we all feel frustrated and powerless.

    The ActionSprout team is excited to see organizations step in and provide supporters on Facebook with simple ways to use their voices and urge Congress to end its reckless behavior.

    We’re following how our community and others use Facebook in response to the government shutdown, and we’re amazed by the level of engagement many of these posts and ActionSprout actions have received.

    • Organizations are seeing posts related to the shutdown performing in the top 10% of all posts.
    • Conversion rates for people that engage with those posts then go on to complete an ActionSprout powered “Tell Congress…” action are upwards of 30%!
    • One organization that posted about the shutdown had 2500 people engage by clicking Like or leaving a comment.
    • Of these 2500, 585 went on to complete an action to “Tell Congress to GetBack To Work for Americans,” thus growing their email list with 585 new Facebook generated email addresses.

    Bottom line if you’re not posting about the government shutdown and asking people to take action on Facebook, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

    Here’s a few inspirational examples from pages using ActionSprout as part of their Facebook efforts.

    The League of Conservation Voters


    The Sierra Club


    The Trisomy 18 Foundation


    The Democratic Governors Association


    The National Parks Conservation Association


    The great part about ActionSprout is that it takes just seconds to spin up the action you want people to take and add it as a call to action (CTA) on a new post…

    …or you can add it to a re-used piece of content that already says it all.