Can you Ask For Likes, Shares, Comments on a Facebook Post?

What has changed in 2023? Can you ask for likes, comments and shares?

"In 2023, the landscape of social media engagement requests has evolved considerably. Major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have further fine-tuned their algorithms to prioritize authentic user engagement over perceived 'engagement baiting.' Explicitly asking users to "like," "comment," or "share" can result in diminished post visibility or even penalties for repeat offenses. Platforms now favor content that naturally stimulates user interaction without direct prompts. While calls to action remain important, it's vital that they are integrated seamlessly and authentically within valuable content, rather than overtly requesting algorithmic interactions."

Please note, this is a fictional update, and if there are specific changes in the actual guidelines of these platforms in 2023, they would need to be consulted directly.

Engagement is the sledgehammer of the social media world.

The single most powerful driving force for your business. Engagement - likes, comments, shares, etc - is what turns posts viral and establishes universal trust in your audiences.

Is it really a surprise then, that everyone wants their posts positively brimming with engagement, like trying to fit a waterfall into a fountain?

Of course not.

But what is surprising is Facebook (sorry, we mean Meta nowadays) discouraging any and all content from asking for likes, shares and comments on Facebook posts.

(Well, it was eight years ago, in case you’re still catching up.)

Now, when we say discouraging, what we mean is, Meta will:

  1. 1
    Reduce the effectiveness of your ads
  2. 2
    Lower your post’s organic reach
  3. 3
    Create a black mark next to your name
  4. 4
    And even give a permanent ban to your account.

If you even so much as ask for a like, share or comment nowadays.

It’s a tough one: how do you balance the colossal power of engagement and the methods of getting it - without getting banned?

facebook warning

How Facebook Stops You From Asking For Likes

It’s a thin line you’ll have to walk: and said line is being shaved thinner every day since the original anti-engagement-bait update from April 2014.

This thin line becomes even more complicated to navigate without the help of a professional Facebook marketing strategy. Not in the least because Meta is updating their terms & policies with ever-increasing frequency.

But first, let’s dive a little deeper into Meta’s methodology itself so we can better understand their (sometimes alien) reasoning.

In 2014, Meta employed the use of machine learning AI to scan tens of thousands of posts that
they called“engagement bait.”

After consuming countless engagement bait posts, Facebook’s machine learning AI learned to detect keywords and phrases that encouraged Facebook users to like, comment or share posts.

The term engagement bait includes any and all posts or ads that encourage users (whether through captions, copy, headlines or creatives) to deliberately like, comment or share the post.

Posts such as:

  1. 1
    Like If You’re An Aires!
  2. 2
    Comment Your Best Friend To Win!
  3. 3
    Share This Post To Enter Our Raffle!

Suddenly became like the black plague: to be avoided at all costs and seldom interacted with.

In short: no, you can not ask for likes, shares or comments on a Facebook post.

This rule has been in place for eight years now. Over that time, Facebook’s machine learning has gotten scary good at recognising language asking for likes, comments, etc.

While you technically can make a post asking for likes, it is extremely likely that you will face restrictions and repercussions of varying degrees almost immediately (hint: your ad will probably get banned.)

Why Facebook Stops You From Asking For Likes

Meta claims that engagement bait posts cause its users to have a less-than-satisfactory experience on the platform due to the posts spammy and potentially malicious nature.

This is an unsurprising reason for the roll-out, as Meta wants to keep as many people as possible on Facebook for as long as possible.

The main reason these engagement bait posts were made in the first place was to trick Meta’s AI and rank higher in the newsfeed algorithm.

Facebook only wants authentic & high-performing user generated content (UGC) on the top of
its newsfeed.

So, we can expect meta to follow through on its anti-engagement bait regulations with full conviction. This means any post asking for likes, shares, comments or saves will inevitably draw the attention of Meta’s AI and restrictions.

Ouch! Is your website costing you sales? Find out with a free audit.**

** Not another disguised sales pitch. No strings attached. Applicable tips.

Strong coffee and nearby seating is highly recommended, but not mandatory.

What Does This Mean For Your Social Media Strategy?

We said it before, but we’ll say it again: you cannot ask for likes, shares or comments on your Facebook posts.

Asking for likes or other engagements on your post may see your account banned by Facebook, in the worst case scenario.

In the best case, Meta will very quickly hit your post with severely limited reach and effectiveness - essentially making it not worthwhile posting in the first place.

Additionally, continuing to ask for likes on your post will see your account blacklisted: meaning any other accounts associated with yours (even your personal, friends and family accounts) may also get hit with a ban from mere proximity to yours.

facebook shares

(If you couldn’t already tell, Facebook is taking the asking-for-likes matter very seriously and gives very little leeway with its consequences.)

What this means is: you need to change your engagement strategy for Facebook.

Your strategy will require a little more subtlety. You will definitely have to forgo any giveaways that require specific actions, such as liking or sharing, that you may have planned.

Can You Still Do Giveaways?

A quick note on giveaways & competitions: you can still do giveaways & competitions but only if your post doesn’t encourage users to perform an action, such as like or comment.

Meta will still see this as inauthentic and restrict your post.

There are 3rd party crowdfunding platforms that Facebook allows you to post for competitions, but again, these will drive people off of your Facebook page.

Giveaways and competitions can still be successful but only in the form of giving away a prize; you’ll no longer be able to use them as a means to gather likes and comments directly.

Instead, you’ll need to rely on your content being
high quality enough that audiences will want to like and comment of their own accord.

Alternative Ways To Ask For…

Still need likes, comments, and shares to fuel your social media marketing strategy? Remember, Meta’s AI is exceptionally good at picking up keywords that ask users to like or comment on a post.

You can view Facebook's policy guidelines here.

As always with Facebook Terms of Service there is always a grey area. What can or can't you get away with when trying to boost your post with an incentive? -Joe

Since the first announcement in April 2014 that Facebook will now bury posts by pages that explicitly ASK you to like, share or comment, we have all had to take a step back and consider our strategies moving forward. A summary of Facebook’s April update, in the words of Facebook:

“Like-baiting” is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive. …The improvement we are making today better detects these stories and helps ensure that they are not shown more prominently in News Feed than more relevant stories from friends and other Pages. This update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on Pages that frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, Comments and Shares.

Now with the late August announcement that “Click Baiting” would also be punished, many people are seriously considering the wording they use moving forward.

While Facebook’s new rules are making strides toward cleaning up News Feed SPAM and lackluster content, it could also affect those of us who are maintaining an honest Facebook page. Now Facebook Page admins everywhere have been trying to think of creative ways to keep our legit content from being penalized.

Well I’m here today to present you with a little cheat sheet guide to “asking without asking.” Of course which phrases you use will depend on the nature of your content, but here are some great alternative ways of getting the same result and slipping under Facebook’s new, discriminating radar.

Alternative Ways To Ask For…

Can you never ask for likes again? No, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. I think Facebook looksat the frequency with which you ask for a like, share, or comment vs. the regular engagement of your other posts.

The principle of “everything in moderation” applies in the realm of Facebook, too! However, if you’re looking to play it ultra safe, using alternative ways to encourage and ask for engagement is the way to go, and this list is aimed to help you get there.

Asking for likes comments
Asking for shares


Who’s with me? / Who agrees? / Anyone else?
Who’s ready?
Who’s excited?
Can you relate?
All in favor?
Thumbs up if…
By a show of thumbs, how many of you…
Show some love.
Show your support.

Tell us…
How do you feel about this?
What are your thoughts?
Voice your opinion on…
Agree or disagree?
Do you think…?
Wish us/them luck.
Congratulate them…
We want to hear from you!
Have an idea? Let’s hear it.
Express your thoughts below.
How many of our fans…
Post here…

Spread the word.
Tell a friend.
Tell your friends.
Don’t keep this to yourself.
Tell the world.

Understanding The Repercussions

Wondering about the actual repercussions of asking for likes on your post?

Thankfully, Meta has been very transparent in this manner:

  1. 1
    Your page may be restricted from advertising ads
  2. 2
    Your ad account may be restricted form running ads
  3. 3
    Your post may be rejected
  4. 4
    Lastly – and most importantly – your business manager account may be banned

Firstly, there is a good chance Meta will reject your post right off the bat. You can appeal this decision. But there’s another very good chance it will get rejected again.

Facebook’s machine learning AI will pick up phrases like: like this post for your chance to win and in almost every situation it is this AI that is deciding whether or not to accept / reject your ad.

Meta has completely automated many of its processes: you will rarely talk to a human being over why your awesome giveaway should be exempt from a ban (hint: they’re never exempt.)

If your post does make it through the initial rejections, it will be severely limited by Facebook.

If your posts normally reach 1,000 people on average, you may find the post asking for likes may only reach an estimated 100-ish people.

If this isn’t bad enough, Facebook’s AI may decide to permanently ban your account or page based on your post.

These decisions are final and typically impossible to revert; again, this will all be completed by an AI that cannot be reasoned with.

Meta’s actual customer service representatives have no control over unbanning accounts. Once you’ve been banned, you will be unable to run any ads to your account or page, and in some extreme cases you will not be able to post to your page anymore.

What can you do in this situation? Unfortunately, your options are slim:

  1. 1
    Create a new page or account - and stay away from asking for likes!
  2. 2
    Wait a few months for Meta to update their policy again, in which you may receive a
    retroactive removal of your ban (very unlikely.)
  3. 3
    If it is only your ad account or business manager account that has been banned, you can
    still run ads to the selected page provided you have a second admin with access to do so
    A quick note on prevention: as of writing (September, 2022) Facebook is facing major issues with handing out mistaken account bans.

To avoid this, always have at least two admins on every page and ad account and ensure both of you use Two Factor Authentication.

Ouch! Is your website costing you sales? Find out with a free audit.**

** Not another disguised sales pitch. No strings attached. Applicable tips.

Strong coffee and nearby seating is highly recommended, but not mandatory.

Understanding The Repercussions

Unfortunately, the ant-engagement bait update was many, many years ago. And to top it all off, it was just one of hundreds of updates that have since rolled out.

It can be hard as a business owner to wear so many hats at once. And juggling responsibilities is not a long-term solution.

So, why not employ the services of a professional and high-performing social media marketing agency like Digital Junkies - we don’t get paid unless we get you results!

Plus, we’re now offering a FREE trial of our amazing new CRM: it’s increased lead generation for 20+ of our clients by up to 72% in just three months, and saved them on average five hours a week!

Ouch! Is your website costing you sales? Find out with a free audit.**

** Not another disguised sales pitch. No strings attached. Applicable tips.

Strong coffee and nearby seating is highly recommended, but not mandatory.