Last month, Facebook announced the end of the practice of ‘like-gating’: a social marketing technique used to increase the number of likes.

‘Like-gating’ is a popular technique used by some sites that insist that Facebook users have to like their page before accessing certain content such as entering a competition. This was seen as a great way to increase fans.

However last month, a Facebook developer’s blog gave notice that this practice was no longer allowed. It said:

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 remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.

This decision has caused quite a stir. Some social marketers are angry saying it has compromised the apps they have developed. Clearly, this is an issue for them as Facebook (Google et al) can make changes as and when they choose to.

Facebook are positioning this as an improvement for users saying:

To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

However, some social media commentators are saying this is a ruse to increase facebook advertising as a replacement technique to grow audiences. Both of these things may be true!