Facebook Promotions Rule Changes Should Effect Voting Competitions

Posted on: May 13th, 2011 by Jason 9 Comments

A big thank you to @staffstechgirl on Twitter for making us aware of changes to Facebook’s promotions guidelines. The changes were implemented on the 11th May and, if administered, could have a huge effect on voting competitions that run on the social network. Indeed, the full text has ramifications for all Facebook competitions that don’t run via a third party platform.

We’ve taken a closer look at the rules and here’s our view of them.

You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotionโ€™s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.

Just asking a user to “like” a page to be included in a prize draw is basically against Facebook’s terms and conditions. Yet, there are numerous brands/siteowners doing this. There are also plenty of competitions where prizes are offered at X number of likes. As we understand it this rule has been in place for a while and it’s often ignored.

To be within the Facebook rules a brand can ask a user to “like” their page but they then must provide them with a competition mechanic via a third party application.

You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.

As we understand this rule all Facebook competitions that ask people to tag a photo, upload a photo to the wall, comment on a wall post etc are in breach of the above. That, if applied by Facebook could have a huge impact on this kind of comping.

You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

The biggie! Competitions that ask for “most likes” for a post or picture to win will be in breach of this rule. This doesn’t mean the end of voting competitions though, they just need to be run using a third party application. If enforced this should lift some of the issues and controversy that surround voting competitions.

You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages.

How many of you have been notified of wins via Facebook? This rule means that a promoter shouldn’t be doing any competitions within the Facebook set up as they can’t notify the winner using the network. In other words, everything should be done via a third party application – with a contact email being collected so that a promoter can get in touch with a winner.

On paper there’s good news and bad news for compers. The bad news is that potentially a lot of the one day competitions, tag a photo, post to our wall type promotions don’t, as we read the above, adhere to the rules.

The good news is that the most likes rule is needed as it will force promoters to rethink how they run and manage voting promotions. It should also mean that all contests, sweepstakes and competitions are conducted in a more formal way.

The big question is will Facebook enforce the rules?

The current answer is “no” because a quick look amongst the comping posts on Facebook we can see that there are numerous brands and pages running competitions that don’t follow the above. Posting answers to walls, like us to enter and tag the photo to take part are still in place.

There’s one easy way for Facebook to find out which brands are breaking the rules though – follow the people who do the competitions!

Check out Facebook’s promotions guidelines!

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9 Comments! Join The Conversation!

  1. lucky281159 says:

    Well is it up to us compers to become our own worst enemies and report ever page that does it??? I think not!
    I do not join in voting comps ( too much back stabbing and b****ing but quite happy to tag a pic to try and win that way.

  2. kevinwj says:

    I think promoters are using twitter to bypass this. I’m seeing more and more RT and like our FB page to enter. ๐Ÿ™

  3. jason says:

    I’m not sure that really bypasses the new rules… just promoters getting both a follower and liker for the price of one promo.

    “is it up to us compers to become our own worst enemies and report ever page that does it???”

    No, but If I was Facebook – I’d be watching competition pages and using that as a way to find promoters breaking the rules. Just saying ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. gcn504 says:

    Not really too bothered by ‘liking’ a page to enter. I quickly remove the update it causes from my profile. What I don’t like are the comps where you have to allow an app to update your profile when you enter.

    I’d rather something was done about the popularity type ‘like’ competitions – this is more prone to abuse. Having to get your picture/entry liked etc to win a comp – this is open to abuse and often results in a less deserving pic/entry winning.

  5. Piffyonarockbun says:

    Do you have any idea how we can report the ones who do break the rules? There doesn’t seem to be a contact mechanism that would be able to be used:-(

  6. moomimmel says:

    have the facebook rules changed? i could swear i’ve read all this before awhile back and the upshot was…. not much changed. ๐Ÿ˜•

  7. jason says:

    Yep, they changed on 11th May… clarification I think mainly… but a lot of promoters will ignore the rules ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. caspertheghost says:

    so if people have fake accounts to like entries or are buying votes, the fake just adds the app. What’s the difference? Reporting just sounds like shooting ourselves in the foot and losing loads of quick comps

  9. offy66 says:

    Personally I don’t understand why Facebook have done this, as I can’t see the harm in the ‘like our page to win’ type comps (I don’t like voting comps though). Is it as their servers can’t cope with all the traffic they generate? Otherwise it seems strange to try to move traffic away from the site.

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