UPDATE: Facebook changed their promotion guidelines on May 11, 2011. This post reflects information regarding promotion guidelines prior to that date. I have provided an update to Facebook promotion guidelines.
Technically, Facebook promotions and giveaways are not a legal issue. However it has come up quite a bit so I figured it’s an important topic. In addition, you run the risks of having your business-related page removed or banned by Facebook if your promotion is not in compliance with the guidelines.
One of the great things about the internet is that information is just a few clicks away. The unfortunate part is that not all that information is true, correct or accurate. Facebook Promotion Guidelines changed on December 1, 2010 making it easier to run a variety of promotions. So, if searching for what you can do to promote your giveaway, review, sweepstakes or contest make sure you’re looking at the most current terms.
1. You Must Use A Third-Party Application
According to the Facebook Promotion Guidelines you can not use the Facebook platform to conduct any part of a promotion. (Well, you can use the Facebook platform but you need their permission and you also need to have pretty hefty ad spending) You shall not collect entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners. You must use a third-party service or create a promotions that that is hosted on your server. For most bloggers, using a third-party application is often not cost effective.
2. You Can Not Suggest Facebook Is Connected With Your Promotion
Facebook is very protective of its intellectual property and wants you to tell every that they have nothing to do with your promotion. You must make it very clear that Facebook is in no way affiliated with your promotion. Facebook provide specific details as to the language that is to be used so that you are in compliance, so see the guidelines for additional help.
3. You Can Not Ask People To Interact On Your Facebook Page To Vote or Qualify
Facebook is very clear that it does not want you asking people to interact on your page as part of your promotion. No posting photos, leaving comments, making status updates, tagging, linking or any such requests. Facebook, being so kind as they are, has outlined what you MAY DO:
- Allow entry by asking reader to Like a Page
- Allow entry by asking reader to Check in to a Place
- Allow reader to Connect to your Contest Tab or Application
4. Limitations On Your Facebook Promotion
- The promotion can not be open or marketed to individuals under the age of 18;
- The promotion can not be open to individuals who reside in a country embargoed by the United States;
- The promotion, if a sweepstakes, can not be open to individuals residing in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India;
- The promotion’s objective can not be to promote any of the following product categories: gambling, tobacco, firearms, prescription drugs, or gasoline;
- The prize or any part of the prize can not include alcohol, tobacco, dairy, firearms, or prescription drugs; or
- The promotion can not be a sweepstakes that conditions entry upon the purchase of a product, completion of a lengthy task, or other form of consideration.
There you have it. Facebook promotion guideline in an easy to understand format so every blogger can comply with the guidelines and not risk losing your page due to non-compliance.
If you found this article informative, take a look at my other articles about copyright, trademark, and social media. If you’d like to discuss this topic further, please contact me or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Thank you so much for this, Sara!
Question… in my giveaways I usually put as one of the optional entries:
“Spread the word about this giveaway online in whatever social circles you would like to. You could send at least 5 friends an email about it (just make sure to include me on the email — rachel AT survivingthestores DOT com) or you could tweet or post a Facebook status about it. Just let me know in the comment section what you did.”
Then I give them a sample tweet or Facebook post that they could use if they wanted to.
Do you think that is violating the terms?
Excellent question! According to the Facebook guidelines, you can not have posting a status update as a means of entry into the promotion. (See Facebook Promotion Guidelines, Term 2, Subsection 1).
It would be best not to condition entry based on any Facebook actions other than those specifically stated.
Thanks for the reply, Sara!
I thought I was okay since I was making it an optional entry along with several other options for that entry (they could tweet, email OR post somewhere else like Facebook).
I’ll go back and reword it to just say any social networking site and not specifically mention Facebook. Then they could post to FB, but it wouldn’t be directly suggested by me.
Thanks for the post! For those bloggers who are a little more tech savvy, one option is to set-up a php form, and then iframe it onto Facebook. Since it’s an iframe, technically all of the posts are being collected by the blogger’s server that is hosting the form. A little bit of styling (and maybe some borrowing of rules for guidelines) and voila! free FB giveaway! It does take a little bit of work, but I think it’s worth it to avoid all the extra costs & stuff.
Okay, I had to laugh because, of course, everyone knows that dairy, firearms, alcohol, and drugs are all contraband type items…. Oh wait, Dairy?? LOL WOW Facebook. Otherwise it seems pretty straightforward. Thanks Sara!
I’m with Dawn on this one… dairy?! So dark chocolate’s okay, but not ice cream? What on earth could be the reasoning behind that!?
Geez, that’s unebielavble. Kudos and such.
What about the giveaways we host on our blog alone but link to our FB pages to let everyone know we have a giveaway going on? I take it that is not ‘conducting’ a giveaway on FB- but rather promoting it on FB.
Are we allowed to do that?
If you’re talking about posting your recent post(s) on your Facebook wall with a link to your site which is the post talking about your giveaway, that is permitted. The rules do appear to allow you to post in your status update something like, “Have you ever wondered how much an XYZ would simplify your life?” and then insert the URL for the giveaway permalink.
You can not use your wall status updated to promote your giveaway though. For example, you can’t have a status update that say “Enter our newest giveaway for an awesome thing!”. That is using FB to promote your giveaway.
Hope this helps!
Thanks Sara. You’re the 3rd blogger who’s had something to say about the very thing I’m aksing and the other two I think both said the opposite- that we could still promote our giveaways. I just wasn’t sure how they knew they were right so I kept looking for the answer.
So- I guess we can’t really promote any giveaway on FB unless its via an approved App. Bummer for us. But bummer for companies too because I, as a rule, will not give access to my account via 3rd party apps for a contest. So Fb is making tough on both sides.
Thank you for getting back to me and for sharing your legal insights with us on this! I will be following you on FB and Twitter!
I can’t speak to where the others are getting their information but the FB Promotion guidelines updated on May 11th are clear that any promotions need to be administered within Apps on Facebook.com (either on a Canvas Page or an app on a Page Tab).
Promoting your giveaway on the wall would be prohibited by the current guidelines. Here is a link to the updated information – http://www.savingforsomeday.com/blog-law-facebook-promotion-guidelines-updated/ – to make sure you have the most current information.
I’d say that the vast majority of 3rd party apps are much safer and have better security precautions built in to them than most people us on their websites. The 3rd party app would be the location that collects your entry information. These apps are not like other apps that require you to ‘approve’ them to use your FB information. They live on a 3rd party site but interface with FB so that you can enter, often providing a name and email. The most popular and widely used contest/sweepstakes app is WildFire. There are other though.
Again, I hope this helps,
[…] you but they can take your site down — a fate worse than death! So mind your Ps and Qs. Read Facebook Promotion Guidelines for more […]
Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging
on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis.
It will always be helpful to read content from other writers
and practice a little something from their sites.