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Facebook Contest: How to Comply with Facebook Rules
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Facebook Contest: How to Comply with Facebook Rules

Social Media

Important Update: Facebook Changes Contest Rules: Apps No Longer Needed ! Here's what this change entails


Facebook contests are important in a social strategy, everyone knows it and everyone wants to do it. However, as on all platforms, there are rules to follow! Facebook clearly displays its rules regarding contests and promotions. Yet, we can see more and more contests disagreeing with the regulations that are created, either because they do not know these rules or simply because certain brands, companies or agencies decide to take the risk of seeing their page closed by Facebook without notice, since this is the risk we are talking about.

Here are the main rules and good practices to follow when making a Facebook contest as well as some examples of good and bad practices:

The most important rule that is often broken first:

You must not use Facebook features as a registration or participation mechanism. For example, liking a Page or indicating that you are in a link does not constitute automatic registration or participation in a promotion.

This means that it is illegal to run a contest that asks:

To like a photo of the page
To have the photo with the most likes
To comment on a post
To like the page as the ONLY condition of participation in the contest
To tag yourself in a photo
Publish a photo directly to an album
To share a photo of the page

Example of bad practice:

Why ? It is forbidden to use the Facebook tagging function.

How to do it right:

The contest may seem less glamorous and efficient to everyone, but it creates a lot less frustration (everyone can participate versus participate as quickly as possible). Also, people don't have to be a fan to comment on a photo on a page…although most people don't know that. Note: in the case presented, the contest was a success!

Bad practice:

Why? It is prohibited to use the "like" function to enter a contest. It is also prohibited to communicate directly with Facebook users via Facebook messaging.

How to do it right:


Another promotion rule that is regularly forgotten:

Promotions on Facebook must be administered in apps on Facebook.com, either on a canvas page or in an app on a Page tab.

A promotion must be in an app to comply with Facebook's policies. An application can be just an entry form with Name and Email fields as in the example above, thanks to simple applications like Static HTML. If you want to develop a more complicated concept, some "all-in-one" applications exist:

Last rule which is the easiest to fix, but which is often broken:

Facebook promotions must include the following:

a. Release protecting Facebook duly completed by each participant.
b. Mention that the promotion is not associated with, or managed or sponsored by Facebook.
c. Mention that the participant is providing information to [disclose the recipient(s) of the information] and not to Facebook. »

It must be written somewhere in your contest that Facebook is not related to it. While many people seem to believe that it's laborious for every contest entrant to fill out a waiver, many companies do it without you realizing it. It is simply by making you accept the terms of use of the Facebook applications that they achieve this.

Now let's recap: how to make a contest on Facebook in a jiffy? 3 important points:

  •        Participation must go through an application
  •        Contact with the winner must be made by email and not by Facebook messaging
  • You must display terms of service that clearly state that Facebook is not a partner of the promotion

Here is an example of a simple and effective contest:


To better understand, here are some good and bad practices:

Good practice: Go through a website (and a Facebook application) that allows you to share:


Bad practice: Asking to share or like a photo to participate


Not only does this contest violate Facebook promotion rules, but it is not possible to know exactly who shared a photo (depending on the participants' privacy settings). It is also not possible to extract the sharing data…

Good practice: ask to like the page to enter the contest.


It is important to remember that liking the page cannot be the only condition for entering the competition, registration must be done through a form.

Bad practice: Asking users to comment or get the most likes to win.


In conclusion, this article only considers the rules of Facebook, but there are even more rules when talking about contests in general. So, before you even think about having a contest, take a look at the racing and gaming liquor board website. (For example, did you know that you must register a contest with the management as soon as the total amount of the prizes exceeds $2,000? Or that rules must be accessible to the public if the value of your prizes exceeds $100?)

The consequences of breaking Facebook's rules? The closure of the page or the request to stop the promotion by Facebook. There are plenty of "illegal" contests that go unnoticed by Facebook, it's up to you whether you want to take the risk or not. At Adviso, for example, we will never advise our clients to do a promotion that does not comply with Facebook's rules.

The temptation can be strong when you see the success of certain contests launched quickly, without having to resort to applications, but there are also many case studies which prove that a well-crafted contest can attract many people. Now you have no more excuses, you know the rules!