Facebook Competition Rules – What Businesses Need to Know

Using Facebook as a vehicle to run a promotional contest for your business can be a really great strategy. However, it is really important that you understand the Facebook Competition Rules and abide by them.

I’ve never personally heard of anyone having their account shut down because their promotion contravened the guidelines but it does happen. It’s easy for someone to take exception and report your page. Legally, ignorance is not an excuse and when Facebook shut down a page it is very difficult to get them to change their minds.

I regularly see contests that contravene the Facebook Competition Rules but, I’m a bit of a stickler for playing by the rules.

How you conduct your business on social media should be a reflection of how you run your business.

It may seem minor to you but if you’re obviously ignoring the Facebook Competition Rules this sends a message to potential clients about the professionalism they can expect. If you are going to do something then it is worth doing properly.

Facebook Competition Rules

AKA Facebook Terms and Conditions for Promotions.

You can find all the Facebook Page Guidelines here, but I’ve included them below together with some commentary to help you understand what they mean for you.

E. Promotions

  1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:

a. The official rules;

b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and

c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)

What you need to do:

Create a page on your own website with your own set of T&Cs for competition entry. You can then use this and modify it for any and all competitions that you run both on Facebook and away from it.

Make sure that you check out you state and federal lottery guidelines. At times you may want to limit entrants to be within a certain state only.

2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.

b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

What you need to do:

Add both of these to the T&Cs on your own website and include the link to that page at the end of your post.

A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant requires a statement like “By entering this contest, you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any or all liability in connection with this contest.”

This is the Facebook Competition Rule that I most often see people getting wrong.

3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook.

Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).

You cannot run a promotion on your personal profile, in fact you can’t use your personal profile in lieu of a business page.

You also can’t ask people to share the post or tag people in it.

What you need to do:

The simplest way to run your contest is to ask people to comment or like. Alternatively you can ask them to post to your page or message you via the page.

Requiring someone to like your page can be used as a condition of entry. Bear in mind that due to privacy settings it’s difficult to check. You can’t easily search ‘likers’ of your page. If you do want to include this as a condition of entry an easy workaround is to require them to send a screenshot showing that they like your page in order to claim their prize.

If you’re going to go to the effort of running a Facebook competition we highly recommend requiring opt in for entry. Building your email database will serve you better in the long term, you’ll still get brand awareness and a well built out competition has a better chance of viral sharing than a Facebook post alone. Not to mention it’s MUCH more transparent and easy to administer.

4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

What you need to do:

This is pretty clear, you’re responsible for running your own competitions.

Now that you’re clear on the Facebook Competition Rules your next step is to decide on what kind of promotion to run.

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