Facebook Contest & Sweepstakes Rules

As I’ve mentioned before I’m happy to use this blog as a way of fielding your questions or concerns about marketing. So far I haven’t done a whole lot of specific social media focus. This question changes that.

My friend, Pam Mattei of “Dyesigns by Pamela” sells killer scarves and other fabric art. Her query is paraphrased as such: “A lot of my friends are offering contest, giveaways and other promotional efforts through Facebook. Others avoid it like the plague because Facebook’s policies are confusing. Could you possibly give a primer on Facebook’s contest rules?”

Let me just put two things on the table right now:

1) Facebook’s rules and policies can change whenever they like and probably will after I write this post so, really, this is this is the best solution:  http://bit.ly/PR9apF

2) Research papers were my least favorite homework ever in school, and after going crossed-eyed from reading Facebook’s policies I think this counts as a research paper. Ugh. I hate research papers.

Okay so without further adieu here is what I’ve determined from Facebook’s policies and other sources:

1)   Facebook has not yet really flexed it’s enforcement muscles much on it’s policies which is why many people, esp small companies just toeing the Facebook promotional waters, haven’t gotten bitten from breaking rules.

2)   It used to be you had to get prior consent from Facebook before ever running a promotion, now you do not. However you DO have to have some way of each participant acknowledging that the promotion isn’t tied to Facebook in any way shape or form and that the participant releases Facebook from any obligation.

3)   You must disclose that the participant is providing their personal information (Any info in the contest application) to you and not Facebook.

4)   You can’t force someone to like a Wall Post, comment on or upload a Wall Photo as part of the promotion. You can only make them Like your page, check into a Place or connect to your App.

5)   Winners must be notified through something OTHER than Facebook. (Like email or phone)

6)   Your contest should be legal by your local laws.

7)   The full policies and any changes or things I’ve left out can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php  It’s actually not very long, it’s Section E at the very bottom.


If you’d like to run a Facebook contest, here’s a great article:


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