There have been a couple of free-range conversations lately as to whether connecting via Facebook (and other social networks) equals permission to send email campaigns to your friends, likes and logins via an email service like Campaign Monitor. It doesn’t help that Facebook Login in particular allows you to export the personal information of your connections, or uses rather ambiguous wording regarding permission on their screens:

Sample Facebook Login

Now, we wanted to get one thing clear:

When a person opts-in to receive email from a company or contact via Facebook Login, this constitutes permission to send and receive email exclusively from the Facebook application.

Same goes for social networking sites like LinkedIn, where folks explicitly opt-in to receive updates from contacts via the site itself, but not necessarily from a 3rd-party mailing list.

Note that this is different from adding an email subscribe form to your Facebook ‘likes’ Page, which is a fine way to encourage folks to sign up for your newsletter.

Why so serious?

From the point of view of a visitor to a site with Facebook Login, there’s a good chance that they want to login and receive personalized content, but don’t necessarily want to join a 3rd-party mailing list. We’ve taken this into account in our permission guidelines, which require that all subscribers have explicitly opt-in to receive email campaigns, prior to being added to a list. For more info, here are some answers to common questions about permission.

How about if I want to use Facebook Login on my site?

There are lots of sites now that use Facebook Login instead of rolling their own authentication or membership system. We’re totally cool with this, as long as Facebook login is not used as a substitute for an email subscribe form.

If you don’t already have a subscribe form on your site, add one. You can then message your existing friends, likes and logins within Facebook and encourage them to sign up to receive your email newsletter via the form. It’s easy and you can know with certainty that you’re on the right side of the tracks when it comes to permission.

Finally, if you have any questions about who you can and can’t email, check out our anti-spam policy or get in touch with the good folks in support – we’re always happy to help with those tricky permission questions and provide solid pointers along the way.

  • Steve

    Also a good idea from Campaign Monitor is to put a subscribe form on your facebook page like this:

  • Matt

    This clearly draws the line between what works and what doesn’t. Thanks for the post and all the pointers

  • Bart

    I wonder whether this policy has been written with Facebook Messages in mind where everybody gets a Facebook email address (using the name you specified for your vanity URL). I assume the purpose of these Facebook e-mail addresses is for people to receive e-mail from non-Facebook members, or basically from people/services out of the Facebook network. In that sense I think it is okay to collect these specific Facebook addresses and use them in CM campaigns.

    Facebook Messages will roll out to all Facebook members in the future. As for now, it’s invite-only.

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Bart, you may want to check out our recent post on Facebook Messages and email. Essentially, Messages is another webmail client – if folks go on to use their Facebook email address to opt in for email newsletters, then there’s no doubt we’ll treat them like any other email address. That said, the point here is that harvesting any email address via Facebook (even a FB one) is just not cricket, regardless of whether the person has ‘liked’ a page, or used FB Login to access a site.

    We’ll be keeping a keen eye on whether Facebook email addresses take hold in the wild (although a lack of IMAP support will probably hold ’em back for a while) and keep you posted :)

  • Jordan

    I need to get on facebook and change things around

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