How NOT to create a Facebook Contest

Contests are popular on Facebook. For example, “Like our page to be entered into our contest!” or “Like and Share to Enter.”

Facebook encourages contests but has strict rules regarding what a contest on Facebook must not do.

If you violate the rules, you risk a warning or possible suspension of your Facebook Page or account.

Many people follow these rules; many do not.

One very specific no-no that Facebook stipulates in their contest rules is that you are NOT allowed to use actions related to a Facebook user’s personal account timeline or friend connections as a contest entry. For example, Facebook prohibits the following activities for contests: “Share on your Timeline to enter” or “Share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” or “Tag your friends in this post to enter.”

Facebook also requires that you make a list of simple rules for your contests (see below) and exclude Facebook from any liability related to your contest.

With some simple  preparation, it is easy to follow the requirements. Why risk losing your Facebook assets by ignoring the rules? Eventually, Facebook’s background algorithms will likely find the non-compliant contests.

Facebook’s Contest Requirements

Facebook’s Terms (that everyone agrees to when they sign-up) has a section called “Promotions,” which applies to contests being run on Facebook.

The easiest way to be compliant is to write a short list of rules for your contest and put the rules on your website. Then link to your rules page at the bottom of your Facebook posts when promoting your contest. Very simple!

Some suggested topics for your contest rules:

  • Who is eligible for the contest (e.g. only people in your province or state, minimum age, any other requirements) [required by Facebook]
  • The start and end date to enter the contest
  • How people enter the contest (e.g. Like our (name of page) Facebook Page?)
  • How the winner will be selected (e.g. random selection of valid contest entries?)
  • What the prize will be
  • How the prize winner will be announced (e.g. posted on your Facebook Page?)
  • That each entrant releases Facebook from any liability regarding the contest [required by Facebook]
  • That the “promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.” [required by Facebook]
  • Who is running the contest (i.e. your organization)
  • Contact information for any questions

With a bit of preparation, it is easy to run compliant contests on Facebook!

Disclaimer: This information is not legal or professional advice and contains highlights from publicly available Facebook Terms. You should read the actual rules related to running a promotion on Facebook (see the Reference link below).

Reference: (under “Promotions on Pages, Groups, and Events”)