As Pinterest has rapidly gained popularity since its rollout in 2010, it has also had to adapt to users and marketers who are utilizing the social network in different ways. A few months ago, it revised its usage policies that could land users in hot water.

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Unlike so many other social media and online outlets, Pinterest has always wanted its users to find what they need or want on their site and then go use that knowledge offline. It’s a unique concept that accounts for the incredible popularity of Pinterest. You can find a recipe, but Pinterest wants you to get offline and go make it. You can find a party theme, which Pinterest then hopes you’ll have all the useful tools you need to then go create. The whole point is for Pinners to find useful and relevant ideas and tools that they can then use in the “real world.”

The most recent change to its usage policy concerns the common practice of Pinner compensation. Like Twitter before it, as Pinterest has expanded, more and more brands have began pursuing and compensating influential Pinners to promote their products, and often that compensation hasn’t been front and center to the Pinterest community. The update usage policy from Pinterest says that compensating Pinners in any way is now strictly prohibited.

ShareRoot co-founder and CEO, Noah Abelson, which creates holistic marketing campaigns on Pinterest for their clients, says the change is in line with the philosophy of the social network.

“Each member of the ShareRoot team understands the importance of Pinterest’s policies and continually ideates around creativity balanced with strict compliance,” Abelson explains. “This recent change is about making sure the authentic nature of the Pinterest communities stays intact.”

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Since one of Pinterest’s founding pieces of etiquette states, “we think authenticity is more important than getting followers,” it does seem natural that this ban on compensating for pinning has come to a formal policy. While that may have been implied before, it’s clearly stated and required in the updated acceptable use policy.

While Pinterest policies on contests have existed for some time now, the recent FTC violation ruling against Cole Haan’s “Wandering Soul” campaign has brought increasing awareness to the importance of disclosure compliance.  

“When you think about these changes, they are intuitive to the Pinterest brand of organic, relevant content for its Pinners. It really make sense,” Abelson says.

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