An Overview of Facebook’s New Contesting Rules

Facebook Contest Rules

Facebook is full of surprises – known for changing policies and guidelines without much fanfare, the social media giant has just recently come out with updated contesting rules, and they could be game-changers for businesses using Facebook contesting as part of their social media strategy.

Previously, Facebook page contests could only be run through third-party apps. Now, as of late August, you can run the contests directly through your pages. Facebook page administrators now have all of the following options for collecting contest entries:

  • Users, both fans and non-fans, posting on the page wall
  • Users liking or commenting on a page post
  • Users sending a direct message to the page
  • Users liking the page

According to the current Facebook terms, the following actions are still not acceptable contest entries:

  • Sharing. Sharing (i.e. sharing on your own timeline, sharing on a friend’s timeline) contest details or any other information on Facebook is always allowed but cannot be counted as an entry.
  • Tagging users. Are you holding a contest where users must submit photos as entries? You cannot require users to tag themselves in these images. Photo tags are intended to be used solely for people who actually appear in photos or images. For example, a contest may require people to tag themselves in photos of a new product for an entry. This is not allowed on Facebook.

Additionally, page administrators are only allowed to run contests from the pages themselves. They cannot use their personal timelines for any of the contest administrative work or other promotions. For example, people cannot access contest entries by sharing on an administrator’s personal timeline.

Regardless of whether you are using a third-party app or one of the new options for collecting entries, you must still practice good social media management and adhere to all existing Facebook promotion guidelines. If you’re using Facebook to run a contest, you’re responsible for all promotion including the official rules, eligibility requirements (i.e. age) and offer terms, and compliance with applicable rules and regulations for the contest and its prizes. All promotions on Facebook must include a full participant Facebook release and disclosure that Facebook is not endorsing, sponsoring or administering or is in any way associated with the contest.

Facebook does not provide any assistance with administering promotions. If you agree to use your Facebook page to run your contest, you are responsible for the entire proceedings.

Keep in mind – Facebook will probably decide to change their contest rules again at any point with very little warning. All major social media channels make updates on a regular basis, and non-compliance can have severe consequences (i.e. account getting temporarily suspended or even shut down). So, it’s not a bad idea to follow social media blogs or websites that post updates on what’s new in the social space. This way you’ll stay in-the-know on how to adjust your strategy as social media no doubt continues to change.

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