Questions about Facebook’s competition rules are by far and away the most common questions we get asked about. As one of the most popular social media platforms for competitions, contests, sweepstakes and giveaways, very few are aware of Facebook’s competition rules and a lot of businesses inadvertently (or deliberately?) break them, leaving themselves open to getting their page and even personal profile shut down… no questions asked.
Here’s how to avoid being thrown in “Facebook jail” and obey Facebook competition rules.
What are Facebook’s competition rules?
THE OFFICIAL RULES
Facebook’s rules for competitions can be found on their Pages, Groups and Events Policies page: https://www.facebook.com/policies/pages_groups_events
Scroll down to the “Promotions on Pages, groups and events” section where you’ll see the rules that apply to competitions run on Facebook:
TIP: If you’re ever in doubt about the competition rules for a platform, we have a super handy quick reference guide to social media competition rules which covers all of the major social media platforms.
But what do they actually mean?
Running a legal Facebook competition.
RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND LICENCES
Facebook’s page guidelines state that you are responsible for the lawful running of a competition on Facebook and that includes:
- official rules
- terms and eligibility requirements
- regulatory compliance
In plain english that means create your terms and conditions, communicate them clearly to your audience and make sure you have all of the necessary licences and permits in place to run a legal competition on Facebook.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
An essential part of any social media competition; you need to ensure you have watertight T&Cs to protect your business. A good set of T&Cs will cover who the competition is open to, key dates, detailed instructions for entering, information on the prize and the prize draw as well as how and when the winner will be notified.
If you don’t have several hundred dollars to get a custom set of competition terms and conditions, you can pick up our comprehensive template written by our lawyers here.
The need for a licence depends on a number of factors such as whether you’re running a game of skill or a game of chance, how much your prize is worth and who it is open to. In Australia, a game of chance will almost always require a licence whereas a game of skill will never require a licence. Each state and territory has difference thresholds for prize value as to whether a permit is needed or not.
We have an in-depth post on licence and permit requirements here.
Release Facebook from liability…
WITH A SIMPLE SENTENCE
Facebook’s competition rules require you to release then from liability and acknowledge they are in no way involved in your competition. You can do this by ensuring you include this sentence from their rules in your post and T&Cs:
“This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.”
Our T&Cs template also contains clauses and terms that covers the liability release and acknowledgement that Facebook are not associated with the competition.
Busting the sharing and tagging myth…
DO NOT ASK PEOPLE TO SHARE
DO NOT ASK PEOPLE TO TAG
Just in case you missed that, the competition rules for running competitions on Facebook clearly state:
Personal timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (e.g. “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).
That means you cannot ask people to tag their friends and you cannot ask people to share for extra entries.
This is the rule we see broken most often – especially when awarding additional entries in exchange for tagging and sharing. Yes, it can help your competition go viral and gain a lot of new page and post likes, but it can also result in your page being shut down, so don’t get caught out!
More Facebook competition mythbusting can be found in our post Facebook competition myths BUSTED.
What happens if you break the rules?
THE RULES ARE ENFORCED
So what’s at stake if you break Facebook’s competition rules?
You risk losing your page and even your personal profile.
Unfortunately it has happened and whilst it may be rare, there is next to no chance in getting your page restored if it does get shut down. Facebook’s rules are extremely clear and if you decide to run a competition that breaks the rules, there will be no warnings or explanations, you page will simply be removed for breaking the rules.
How does Facebook find out?
Well, with a social media platform as big as Facebook, it’s impossible to police each and every competition run on the platform, so they rely on the community and it’s most often when a competition post is reported or flagged that it gets shut down.
All it takes is a disgruntled ex-employee, a know-it-all prize pig, an unhappy customer or a sneaky competitor to report your post and that’s it. Game over.
What about like to win competitions?
ARE THEY PERMITTED?
Back in 2013, Facebook made some important changes to their competition rules. One of those changes was to permit people to run like to win competitions on the platform, whereas previously they were banned.
This means if you want to run a like our page to enter or like our post to win style competition, this is now 100% permitted and will not get your page shut down.
WHAT ABOUT LIKE GATING?
Like gating means preventing people from entering your competition or seeing the entry screen or form unless they ‘like’ your page. Back in 2014, Facebook imposed a ban on ‘like gating’ preventing apps from offering rewards (or prizes) based on whether or not someone has liked your page.
This was big news at the time as it was common for competition apps to get entrants to like the page before they could complete or submit their entry, so a lot of apps had to change the way they operated.
A quick google of Facebook’s current developer policy contains no mention whatsoever of like gating or a ban on like gating, so it looks like it’s quietly been removed, so either way it’s not something you need to worry about.
What about third party/competition apps?
DO I HAVE TO USE ONE?
Not anymore. Again, with the important changes to competition rules on Facebook back in 2013, the need to use a third party app to run a competition was removed, which means you don’t need to pay for a competition app to run your competition on Facebook.
Many business owners and marketers tend to panic when it comes to Facebook’s rules for running competitions, but in reality, they’re simple: have a clear set of T&Cs that releases Facebook from liability and acknowledges Facebook are in no way involved in the promotion; apply for your licences and do not ask entrants to tag and/or share as a condition of entry or to receive additional entries and your competition is good to go!
Want to make sure your competition won’t land you in Facebook jail or need a hand with your T&Cs, get in touch with our team of Facebook competition experts!