Facebook Contests & Promotions… Know the Rules!

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I’m seeing it all too often.  Businesses with Facebook pages running contests and breaking all the rules.  I’ve also seen Facebook business pages with thousands of fans and followers get shut down because of it.  With Facebook working on going public, I can only anticipate them cracking down a little harder on those who violate the rules and TOS (Terms of Service).

Are you a Chamber of Commerce, a news publication, or some other type of organization running “Business of the Month” or “People’s Choice” contests which encourage people to “Like” to vote?  Do you offer a prize to the 1000th person who “Likes” your page?  Do you encourage people to like your page to be entered into a drawing of some sort?  If so… you need to listen up.

Rather than “reinvent the wheel”… I’m simply sharing the current OFFICIAL Facebook “Promotion Guidelines” as they appear on Facebook.com.

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E. Promotions

If you use Facebook to communicate about or administer a promotion (such as a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including the official rules, offer terms and eligibility requirements (e.g., age and residency restrictions), and compliance with regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered in connection with the promotion (e.g., registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals). Please note that compliance with these guidelines does not constitute the lawfulness of a promotion. Promotions are subject to many regulations and if you are not certain that your promotion complies with applicable law, please consult with an expert.

i.    Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.

ii.    Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
  1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  2. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  3. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.
iii.    You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
iv.    You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
v.    You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
vi.    You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
vii.    Definitions:
  1. By “administration” we mean the operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.
  2. By “communication” we mean promoting, advertising or referencing a promotion in any way on Facebook, e.g., in ads, on a Page, or in a Wall post.

We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason. These terms are subject to change at any time.

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So… is it worth having your Facebook business page shut down because you want more “Likes”… or because you want to increase your “social engagement stats”?  There are plenty of acceptable solutions out there.  Need help finding one?  Let me know!

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