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Here's How Facebook Rewards Celebrities Who Post About the Super Bowl

Free ads and "internal organic" promotion.

Adriano Castelli /
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

If you’re on Facebook this weekend you may see a bunch of athletes and celebrities talking about the Super Bowl. Some will be doing it because they’re just like you.

And some will be doing it because Facebook is offering them incentives to do it.

Facebook PR says these (sort of) famous people will be participating in something called a “WatchWith” party, which means they’ll be posting pictures and commentary about the game, using a “#FBWatch” hash tag.

CNN host Rachel Nichols
Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams
Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty and Titans cornerback Jason McCourty
Former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo
Nuggets guard Nate Robinson
Actor Josh Duhamel
Falcons receiver Julio Jones

The promotion is part of a new Facebook effort to get stars posting “public content” on the service — in the way that lots of people already do on services like Twitter and Instagram. As I’ve noted in the past, Facebook has been explicit about its pitch: Publish with us, and we’ll pay you back with eyeballs.

And now we can see exactly what Facebook is offering.

Here’s a pitch letter a Facebook employee sent to a talent agent this month. The letter, which we obtained yesterday, and which Facebook has verified, lays out specifically what Facebook wants celebrities to do this weekend, and what they’ll get in return.

Here’s the relevant excerpt:

Public Figure to provide:

Target of 5 – 10 posts during SB using #SB48. Posts should be mix of status updates, photos, and/or short form video. Post topics could include:

o Pre-game photo of your viewing party

o Questions to fan asking them who they thing will win the game

o Commentary on performance by National Anthem singer and/or Bruno Mars at Halftime

o Commentary on big momentum plays (scores, turnovers, penalties)

o Analysis of what you think the teams should be doing (e.g. “John Fox has to run a fake punt here to get the Broncos back in the game”)

o Commentary on funny SB commercials

o Congratulatory note to winning team/ specific players at end of game

· Encourage fans to upload comments with #FBSBWatch on your page or to their timelines and @reply to their comments

Facebook to provide:
· Amplified distribution on posts to your current FB Page fans via our internal organic and ad credit tools

· Exposure to new FB fans including:

o Fans of SB athletes you mention in posts (e.g. mention Russell Wilson or Richard Sherman and we show the posts to those fans)

o Fans of SB teams you mention in posts (e.g. mention the Broncos and we show the posts to those fans)

· Exclusive access to new FB Pages app to facilitate the posting via mobile and enable fan engagement

· Press partnership to highlight your participation in “Watch With” program and your FB posts

· Amplified promotion and features on Sports on FB Page

It’s interesting to see the “amplified distribution” carrot Facebook is offering, via free ads. As I’ve noted in the past, Facebook has told stars it would use its ad inventory to promote their presence on the service. And Facebook has lots of ad inventory to use, so if it wants to hand out some freebies to celebrities, I suppose that makes sense.

And it’s also interesting to see the way Facebook plans on inserting celebrities into the feeds of users who might not know about them, by linking them to things they have in common, like football players and teams (“mention the Broncos and we show the posts to those fans”).

I wanted to make sure I understood how this would work, so I asked a Facebook rep, who told me you might see a post about the Broncos even if you’re not explicitly a Broncos fan, but if Facebook thinks you’re a Broncos fan, based on signals it picks up. That’s a new experiment for Facebook, and one worth watching.

But all of the cajoling and rewarding still seems a little odd. Facebook has more than a billion users. Shouldn’t that be all the incentive a celebrity needs?

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