Launch a Facebook competition without breaking the rules

15 March 2017

Launch a Facebook competition without breaking the rules

Facebook has become something of a hub for competitions and it’s easy to see why. There are lots of organisations on the platform, many of which have obviously grasped that a lot of people like being offered the opportunity to win something.

Running a competition on Facebook can be a great way to promote your page and your brand. It can also be a way to get your account shut down. Because of this, anyone thinking of organising a Facebook competition is strongly advised to check what their current rules are, as these can and do change, here, however, are some helpful guidelines.

Never run lotteries

Lotteries are competitions that people have to pay to enter. Even in countries where they are legal, there are generally all kinds of complications around running them. Stick to sweepstakes, where entry is free and winners are picked at random, or skill-based contests, where entry is free but entrants have to complete some kind of task, which could be anything from answering a question to submitting a photo or video. Depending on the scenario, a winner could be picked at random from all eligible entries or there could be some further selection process such as community votes or an independent judge/judging panel.

Always make it clear that Facebook has nothing to do with your competition

Facebook does not want to get involved with competitions run on its site and wants to make sure this fact is made clear to all entrants. As well as providing an appropriate disclaimer, you also need to state all applicable rules.

These include eligibility requirements, e.g. any restrictions on age and geographical location. At this point, in theory at least, all people with their own accounts on Facebook should be at least 13, but quite a few of them will be legally minors. It’s also highly advisable to give some thought to whether or not you should restrict entry to people from a particular geographical area.

You may also find yourself caught up in the hassle of local laws (e.g. for alcoholic prizes) and taxes. Even for digital prizes, it may be a good idea to specify that the entrant has to check that it is legal for them to have the prize where they live. You should also specify the number of permitted entries and any grounds for an entry to be deemed invalid.

Double check with types of contest are permitted

Generally speaking, Facebook has been OK with contests that are free to enter and that just involve the entrant completing an action on a page, e.g. answering a question. Where it gets a little more complicated is when organizations wish to run “like and share” type contests, in which case Facebook has a specific set of criteria to which organizers must adhere. As previously mentioned, these can and do change. In other words, each and every time you organize a competition on Facebook, take a little time out to see what the current rules are.

You can find full information on Facebook’s competition rules on its website.