Rules for Facebook Contests

I recently suggested a Facebook contest for book club images, and was asked about Facebook rules and regulations regarding contests. Kenton wrote this piece on any legal ramifications involved. – bg

Contests and giveaways have been included in marketing strategies for decades, and the advent of digital technology and social media has only spurred on development. The important thing to remember is that these networks grant you a license to use the service, and are not a free forum like your own website. All social services have a terms of service. (It’s that thing you clicked your agreement to without reading, remember?) If you don’t abide by those terms, you can face headaches ranging form loosing control of your page, to actual legal fights.

Facebook has been most strict, and it’s been because some pages have taken advantage of the trust users have in Facebook. So while these may seem like red tape, the guidelines exist to protect the service from bad actors. What you need to know:

  • Before you do anything check the current Facebook Terms for Pages. These change often enough that you shouldn’t trust any other source (even this one) directly. These guidelines are based on terms dated May 9, 2014.
  • Contests can only be run on business pages, not personal pages.
  • You are responsible for breaking any laws or regulations. Rules, terms, and eligibility must be published – but not necessarily on Facebook. In most states, you can publish the official rules on your website and just link to them once.
  • Facebook requires that certain things are clear in the rules:
    • Facebook is not in any way connected with your promotion.
    • By entering, each contest participant is completely releasing Facebook.
  • Check Amended Pages Terms for State and Local Governments in the US for any strange laws in your area.


Kenton Hansen

Technical Co-Founder Kenton makes digital things. He is a technologist and has had his part in a few startups including software, advertising, and client services. @KentonH