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How not to run a Facebook competition

23rd April 2013

Blog by Matt Young You see it all the time… “Like this photo and we’ll enter you in to a competition to win... this thing and that”. It is the easiest thing to ask someone to like your page or a photo to enter a competition but did you know this is strictly against Facebook’s terms & conditions?

A screengrab from an anonymous page on Facebook

The full (and fairly boring) breakdown of Facebook’s terms & conditions state that all promotions must be managed through a third-party app. What does that mean? It basically means you should use an app, which is one of the four boxes under your cover photo, so people can enter a competition properly and not by simply clicking ‘like’. Here are the details about building apps.

Here are some key lines from Facebook’s guidelines...

  • You must NOT use Facebook features or functionality (likes, comments, videos, photos, cover photos, etc.) as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. In other words, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant. Similarly, requiring someone to share a post or photo in order to enter a promotion is not allowed.

Also… Facebook features and functionality, such as the Like button, CAN'T be used as a voting mechanism in a promotion.

Here’s the killer line… “We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason.This means if you break their terms and conditions they can close your page down immediately.

We totally understand that it is very easy to do it this way and most pages that run competitions tend to. I saw one recently that not only asked you to “Comment & Share” on the photo to be in with a chance of winning, but the prize was a share of a (yet to be drawn) lottery ticket! This actually breaks some laws, let alone Facebook's terms and conditions.

There are a whole host of other guidelines and LAWS which prevent you from running ‘lottery-like’ competitions which are still relevant online. It is a personal pet-hate of mine so I implore you, please don't be lazy and fall in to this trap.

Literally, as I write this, I have checked Facebook and a national organisation (who should know better, or at least their person in charge of their social media should) are running a competition to win an iPad. All you have to do is 'Like their page and share their photo...' It is the easiest thing in the world to enter that competition and I wouldn't blame you for doing it. But just beware, Mark Zuckerberg and his staff WILL crack down on this soon so if you're thinking of running a competition, please do it properly.