Facebook Giveaway and Promotion Rules

Last Spring Facebook changed their giveaway and promotion guidelines.

Though the changes should have had a fairly dramatic impact on the way bloggers handle giveaways and promotions, they don’t seem to have trickled down to everyone. Maybe it’s because of the legal speak that permeates the page…

In any event, I thought it may be time to have a discussion. So here we go…

Facebook Giveaway Rules

I. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or an app on a Page Tab.

You cannot run a giveaway or promotion on your wall. You must use a third-party application to administer your contest. There are several companies who provide this service for a fee, or you can learn how to create your own tab in i-Frames.

II. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

  1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  2. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  3. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.

If you do utilize an app and run a promotion, Facebook wants to be sure the participants know that they are in no way any part of your promotion.

III. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’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.

You cannot ask people to like your page, comment on your wall, share your status or write a status update on their own wall as a primary or secondary entry. This means that you cannot host a giveaway on your blog and ask people to “like” your Facebook page as an additional entry.

If a company request that you ask for likes on their page as a condition of entry. Tell them no and point them to Facebook’s promotion guidelines. A request like this could result in the deletion of both your page and theirs.

Still skeptical? Read this blogger’s exchange with a Facebook employee regarding the promotion guidelines.

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

You cannot notify your winners that they’ve won a giveaway via Facebook. Notify them by email, twitter, however you want just as long as it’s not on Facebook.

V. You may not use Facebook’s name, trademarks, trade names, copyrights, or any other intellectual property in connection with a promotion or mention Facebook in the rules or materials relating to the promotion.

Don’t tie Facebook to a giveaway on your site in any way. Say you’ve reached 10,000 likes and you want to celebrate with a giveaway on your blog. Don’t call it your “Awesome Facebook Fans Giveaway.”

There are several more guidelines included in the description. If you’re really interested in using Facebook as a forum for giveaway promotion, make sure you read them thoroughly.

UPDATED. Facebook shared this promotions guidelines training video. You might want to take a peak at it if things are still a little fuzzy.

What Happens if I Violate the Rules

Facebook has started cracking down on pages that violate its giveaway and promotion rules. Don’t run the risk of having your page deleted. 

General Giveaway Information

Giveaways can be tricky in general. Make sure you understand giveaway laws.

The Work at Home Wife has a great post on general giveaway and sweeptsakes rules. I’d also recommend this article from Saving for Someday.

What do you think about Facebook’s promotion rules? Were you already aware of the specifics? While we’re at it, what do you think about giveaways in general? 

Comments

  1. Thanks for referencing my article, Tauni. Appreciate it.

    Sara

  2. :( I don’t necessarily like these rules, but I guess I should obey! lol! do you know if twitter, pinterest, or any other any other social media has giveaway rules?

  3. I hate the rules! I love entering giveaways, but they are a bit of a pain to host!

  4. Thanks for mentioning my article, Tauni.

    • Angie, Thanks for stopping by to comment. THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts. I read your post a while back and bookmarked it for the future. I think that giveaways are such a challenge for the online community and appreciate your insight.

      xoxo

  5. I had heard that you couldn’t host giveaways on FB, but I had no idea about some of the other rules. Thank you for sharing this! Good to know!

    • Amy, I am glad you found the article helpful…I think that all the legal mumbo-jumbo can really be confusing and as a result it doesn’t get shared as often as it should.

      xoxo

  6. Interesting.
    I actually don’t do giveaways anymore on my blog (I did a couple about a year ago, right when my blog was starting, but they were both things that I was giving away on my own–no other shop or company)
    But my husband was kind of convinced that I’d be the one-little-blog that someone came after and sued for running an illegal contest somehow. Not worth it. At least I know all my followers came from wanting to see what I’m doing, not what they could win. But I do think they’re kind of fun (and I’m all about simpler–leave a comment for an entry, and that’s it :)

    • Steph, You’re a wise blogger. Really. You seem to have it all together. Quite honestly, I don’t know how loyal readers gained through giveaways really are anyway. I would generally rather grow my readers slowly over time than with a giveaway…Just me. However, when the item really seems to fit my readers I too will make an exception.

      xoxo

  7. Wow, I don’t think Facebook did a very good job publicizing these new rules. Just today I saw a giveaway on a prominent blog that included leaving a Facebook comment. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Brittany, You know you make a good point. Though I’ve known about the change in rules forever, I think it’s because it’s my business to know. I sought the information out! I think that I tend to agree with you…Facebook could definitely do a better job in helping share these types of rule changes.

      One of the reasons I decided to bring this issue to the surface were all of the blogs I noticed hadn’t transitioned away from using Facebook. I would hate to see someone loose their page over this type of activity and I actually recently met someone who had…

      Thanks for stopping by!

      xoxo

  8. Thanks for the clarification! I am going to make sure I comply with this now:)

    • Hey Di, Glad you found the article helpful. It’s so hard to keep up on all these rules and regulations, isnt’ it?

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you soon!

      xoxo

  9. Ugh, I’ve been so confused about these rules for so long!! I’ve read everything you’ve offered up and more, and it wasn’t really until I went to the FB promotions guidelines page myself and read and reread everything very carefully that I think I finally understand it. I hate that we can’t use FB likes on our blog as extra entries, but its seems pretty clear that that is the case. Such a bummer! I will definitely not use that in my giveaways any more.

    • Michele, All the legalease required in these types of rules can be so cumbersome and difficult to understand. I have to admit, I actually reached out to a local attorney for clarification before I posted…

      xoxo
      Tauni

  10. Oy. Thanks for clarifying these. I’m sure they have their reasons but it’s hard to grow a fanbase for your site/store with all those regulations.

    • Marjory,

      Glad you found my post on Facebook giveaways helpful.

      Here’s something I’d be interested in hearing your feedback on…Though giveaways are great for growing your fan base in terms of numbers, I quite frequently question the loyalty of those fans. Are they really going to purchase your product? Do they really increase sales?

      I lean toward believing that giveaways are great for name awareness and branding, but they don’t really generate a ton of true fans. What do you think?

      xoxo

  11. I blame all this the Obama Administration. I mean really, if I want to host a give-away shouldn’t I be able to lay the blame on Facebook if and when it goes bad? What is the world coming to?

    Really though, thanks this was a very helpful article to an up and coming blogger. Can I call myself that?

  12. Great post Tauni–Thanks for gathering and sharing all the info in one place.

  13. Thanks for going through this info, Tauni! For various reasons I choose not to get into giveaways on my blog yet, but this is good stuff to know.
    The risk of losing a FB page? That’s a huge gamble for a few extra followers for your blog (or the company).

    • It’s so fun seeing your “real” name on things {giggle}. I agree with you, the risk of loosing your FB page over a few extra readers just isn’t worth it! I don’t do too many giveaways either…I believe the bring very little value to my site, but there are times when I feel it has been appropriate.

      xoxo
      T

  14. Thank you for this information that is spelled out more clearly! I found your article through http://www.amerooniedesigns.blogspot.com.

    I do not like the fact that FB is taking the EASE out of give away entries.
    Needing to use an app will be frustrating too.

    I will bookmark this page and the others that you referred to. I plan to start some give aways later this year. Perfect timing for me to find these articles! Thanks again!

    Kelly on FB
    Sew Lambitious on FB
    Kelly on Pinterest

    • Kelly, it’s a little frustrating to track and abide by all of Facebook’s changes, but I find it still to be one of the best tools for promoting SNAP! It’s free, so I guess we all have to deal with the issues that come along with using it…

      Thanks for coming to visit from Amy’s (love her). Hope you will come back again soon!
      xoxo
      Tauni

  15. …now my question: what about past giveaways?! are you still risking the chance for your FB page being pulled for something in the past? or only for currently happening giveaways?

    xoxo

    • Gussy, This rule has been in place since last spring – May to be exact. Technically, you shouldn’t have anything on your page that violates the rules in the last year. I know that some people have gone back and pulled anything that didn’t comply just to be safe, but the odds of getting “audited” so to speak are pretty rare.

      xoxo
      Tauni

  16. One of the MAIN reasons I am on Facebook is for the GIVEAWAYS! BEtween the timeline, which I HATE and now this I may as well camel my FB :(

    • Darn. Sorry to burst your bubble S. It’s unfortunate that the rules have infringed on activity, but I do find Facebook to be a very valuable resource regardless…

      xoxo

  17. Not sure if anyone knows the answer to this one, but I have my blog posts automatically posted to my Facebook page via RSS Graffiti. If my post is about a giveaway (that does not have anything to do with Facebook or having any entries being related to Facebook), will I be violating their terms by having that post go up on my page? And also, if I share a giveaway (even if that is not a form of entry) from another blog is that also violating their guidelines? I read the whole thing and in the beginning it says if you use Facebook to “communicate about or administer a promotion.” To me, this basically means you can’t talk about promotions at all on their site unless you use the Apps on Facebook.

  18. I just found this article from Rafflecopter (I have seen a lot of blogs using this for their giveaways lately). From how I understand it, you can have a participant “Like” your page for an entry, but having them share the giveaway on Facebook is not allowed as an additional entry.

    http://blog.rafflecopter.com/2011/06/giveaways-and-promotions-on-facebook/

    • Laura, I did a little checking…Facebook has clarified. You CANNOT have a participant “Like” your page for an entry – even with Rafflecopter. You can like-gate an entry form, i.e. have a tab that readers can only access if they like your page. They then still have to fill out the entry form.

      Having said that, you can use Rafflecopter as the third-party app needed for a giveaway.

      xoxo
      Tauni

      • I really want to contact that person at Facebook. I really don’t think she is commenting specifically to that particular question, or she doesn’t see this in Facebook’s own guidelines: “You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page”. So then what in the world does “OTHER THAN LIKING A PAGE” mean? I highly doubt Rafflecopter would add that in their app without checking. I’m going to email them to clarify, but it would be nice if the original Facebook contact would have been specific in her comment. It sounds to me like she is talking about the AUTOMATIC entry. I know several fan page admins who have had attorneys look over the guidelines and have come to the same conclusion. As someone who abides by the FB guidelines and follows the changes religiously, even I am baffled by this one. I would have been devastated to loose 36,000+ fans on Where Women Create, so I followed them to the letter.

        • Paige, I am not sure I totally understand what your question is here. Is it just whether someone can use Rafflecopter and still break the promotion rules?

          • RIght. I don’t know why Rafflecopter would specifically break FB rules in their app. Especially since so many people use it. I actually emailed them (Rafflecopter) to clarify, but haven’t heard back. As for the responses from Facebook, they both go directly against what the guidelines say. “OTHER THAN LIKING A PAGE”. It would have been helpful if these FB contacts would have said “Yes, we realize that we actually SAY in our guidelines that you CAN like a page for a contest entry, but we don’t really mean it. It makes no sense. If they mean “Like-Gating”, then they should say that in the guidelines. It’s confusing. I personally don’t care either way. I never used the like as an extra entry on WWC or TCC and I have only used it once using Rafflecopter on RIley Blake. I just think that Facebook need to be more specific in their guidelines.

  19. I’ve known about Facebook’s rules regarding contests and give-a-ways since they changed but I still see Pages doing them without a third party app and blogs asking for likes to enter. I just recently discovered Rafflecopter so I’m very glad you mentioned this app and clarified. I didn’t believe we could have people Like our page or Like the blog post to enter even though those are options in the demo give-a-way.

    • Melody, Even with Rafflecopter, you cannot just have someone like your page or the post. You can like-gate an entry form, i.e. you can hide the entry form to anyone who hasn’t liked the page. Does that make sense? It’s sort of an odd way around if you ask me…

      Tauni

  20. What can you do if you win a give away and never hear from the place who had the giveaway?

  21. OK…I want to be clear on this before my next giveaway. Can I not even send my readers anywhere near FB page of the sponsor? What is better wording – I know the sponsor would like them to visit their FB page, but is that not at all allowed in any way? I had one sponsor that didn’t even have a website, just an FB page and wanted them to go over and see their products and then I had them come back to leave a comment as an entry – is that not allowed? I really want to comply properly. Thank you!

    Becky B.
    http://www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

    • Becky,

      You cannot send them to “like” your page or a sponsor’s page for an entry. I am not an expert, but as long as you’re not asking the person to use FB functionality (i.e. like, comment, etc.) I think you could still send them over to a FB page to look at product and then come back to your blog and leave an entry…

      Personally, unless you are conducting a promotion with a FB sponsored app, I would simply steer clear of using FB in conjunction with contests and giveaways.

      xoxo
      Tauni

  22. Tauni, I am so glad I found this article. I am about to host my first giveaway to introduce one of my friends accessory lines and to thank my readers. I had no idea about the Facebook guidelines. I would have made a huge booboo! I am just now researching the legality of Giveaways to make sure I conduct them correctly. Thanks for the information. Lesley

  23. I don’t actually like to do giveaways so I rarely ever do on my blog. The only giveaways I enter are those where you leave a comment on the blog. All that other stuff is a pain in the neck. People are busy enough without having to visit a half a dozen sites just to enter to win a book. It keeps me from following the blogger or buying the authors book.

    • Eva, I feel fairly similar to you. I do think that the Rafflecopter tool people are utilizing now makes those extra entries less of a pain (although I still rarely enter).

      xoxo, Tauni

  24. Hey Tauni – great article :)

    I know Rafflecopter has come up several times in the conversations over the past several months about Facebook promotion guidelines regarding ‘liking’ pages for entries. I wanted to let you know that Rafflecopter now falls within Facebook’s promotion policies. I wrote an article that should help clear things up:

    http://blog.rafflecopter.com/2012/08/facebook-giveaway-rules-regulations/

    Thanks!
    – Greg

    • Greg, Thank you so much for following up personally. I sincerely appreciate it. I have followed your changes very closely and shared several of your blog posts on FB & Twitter.

      I think that you have a great tool and I would love to have you consider coming out to an event I host each spring – SNAP! – for professional home entertaining, craft and DIY bloggers. It would be a great opportunity to showcase your product.

      Thanks again!
      Tauni

  25. Hi, Thanks for these tips! I will be managing my first giveaway with Woobox in a week. It is a lot of preparation if you want to customize your sweepstake! I wanted to know if Facebook allows you to advertise your giveaway on your front page picture? Did not see any rules on this, what do you think? Thanks!

    • Emilie, I haven’t seen anything that specifically covers talking about giveaways in your cover photo. However, the terms do talk about how you cannot use the image as an “advertisement,” so I would probably steer clear. Good luck with the giveaway! Tauni

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  2. [...] SNAP has a post that list rules and guidelines for appropriate use facebook. [...]

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