Running a Facebook Competition? – Rules you need to know

on June 1, 2012 | Facebook | Comments (0)

Facebook users are running in the hundreds of millions and may be soon they will be running in the billions. The members are lively and they love to like, and it is because of this that companies are creating pages on this social network as an internet marketing strategy. However, statistics have shown that forty per cent of the people who like company pages do so with the hope of getting discounts or getting into competitions.

No more Like-gates 

Companies have taken advantage of this strategy as well, and until recently, one could create a competition and close it whenever they liked with the hope that people will ‘like’ their page all the way to the bank. However, Facebook came up with rules that govern competitions and promotions in this website with the aim of freeing themselves from any liability.

Facebook set their own policies 

The social network started their promotion rules with a definition of what competitions and promotions are. It then goes on to outline what members with Facebook pages must do, what they can do and what they cannot do in regards to promotions and competitions.

Must use a 3rd party Competition Application 

The musts have to do with all the things that Facebook requires the page owner to do when launching promotions and competitions through the website. For starters, the page must use a third party application to launch the promotion or competition, and they must not directly use Facebook or any of its features to launch a competition. Therefore, Facebook posts, likes, comments, uploads and shares cannot be used to create or run a competition. There are several applications out there which can help the page owners to launch and run their competition, and most of them cost a small fee.

Release Facebook from any Liability 

The Facebook page owner must also release this social website from any liability connected to the competition. They must clearly state that the competition is in no way or form endorsed or supported by the website. The Facebook page owner must also outline all the rules and regulations about the competition in order to ensure that members and participants are not mishandled and that they do not feel cheated.

What you must not do 

The cannots have to do with actions that the page owner should never perform on this site, in regards to promotions and competitions. The page owner cannot use the social network to solicitor votes, and they should never use any of the features of this social network to run a competition. Therefore, the number of ‘likes’ should not show the winner of a competition, and the comment section should also never be used to decide who has won in a Facebook competition.

What you can do 

The cans involve all the things that page owners can do in regards to promotions and competitions in the social media network. The page owners can make the competition known through a post on their page, but they should not go beyond that. The Facebook features will simply be used for the purpose of awareness. The competition itself can only be accessed on the social network using a third party application. Even pictures used to promote this competition or pages can only be uploaded using another application and not Facebook’s upload feature.

Free or Paid applications? 

These applications can range in price from free applications with a credit link to more expensive options, though Facebook allows applications that the page owner has made themselves. They only hold offence when their website and features are used to promote and run such competitions. Facebook has a right to do this, considering they are worth a speculated $100 billion USD (after all the IPO hype goes away) . A wrong move in any of the competitions launched on their website without following any of the rules could land them in court, and Facebook is simply working to protect its assets – it’s fair to say they already have enough law suits on at the moment.

Break the rules – risk your Fanpage being shut down 

Facebook page owners are advised to follow these rules in order to ensure that their pages are not disabled. Facebook is a ripe market, and having your page disabled will be a detrimental step in your companies online marketing strategy. Unfortunately, most page owners are not even aware that these rules and responsibilities exist. It is therefore imperative and less costly for the page owners to familiarise themselves with these rules in order to save their Facebook pages from being shut. When it comes to promotions and competitions on Facebook, it is much safer to be safe than to be shut.

David Cowling : Editor and Founder of I also run a Social Media Agency where I do consulting work and another blog dedicated to Instagram news. Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Google + or contact me here. Alternatively, you can send me an email at