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The Facebook Pages Terms & Conditions for promotions administration were updated on August 27th, 2013. Click here to check the updated version.

I can still see some competitions running on Facebook pages in which the voting mechanisms is the like feature. The most common example is photo competitions: “The picture with the highest number of likes will win…”. Well, this is ILLEGAL according to Facebook Pages Terms. This rule exists for a long time now but it seems many  Facebook pages managers are not aware of that.

Facebook Pages Terms For Promotions:

Here is an extract of the Facebook Pages Guidelines available on the social network’s website:

E.    Promotions

If you use Facebook to communicate about or administer a promotion (such as a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including the official rules, offer terms and eligibility requirements (e.g., age and residency restrictions), and compliance with regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered in connection with the promotion (e.g., registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals). Please note that compliance with these guidelines does not constitute the lawfulness of a promotion. Promotions are subject to many regulations and if you are not certain that your promotion complies with applicable law, please consult with an expert.
i.    Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
ii.    Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a.    A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b.    Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
c.    Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.
iii.    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. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
iv.    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.
v.    You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
vi.    You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
vii.    Definitions:
a.    By “administration” we mean the operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.
b.    By “communication” we mean promoting, advertising or referencing a promotion in any way on Facebook, e.g., in ads, on a Page, or in a Wall post.

The concerned rule is article V and it says: “You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.”

What Are The Consequences?

If a page get caught by Facebook through reporting or any other way it risks being shut down.

Why Is Facebook Doing That?

Facebook’s business model is mainly based on advertisement and posts promotion. To reach a large audience you need to invest in ads or pay a fee to promote your posts. By liking any page post you are spreading the word unconsciously because your activity appears on your friends news tracker and you’re doing that for free.

To monetize, the social network restricts voting through any feature that would increase content reach for free (Like, Share and Comment).

What YOU Should Do Now?

If you are a Facebook Page Manager, you need to make sure you are aware and fully understand the Facebook Pages Terms.

If you are a Facebook user and spot a page running a like competition, post this blog post to their wall!

facebook like button restricted

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Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. really interesting! thankyou

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  2. […] may have read my post about Facebook’s rules and regulations concerning promotions on the platform. Article iv of the promotions guidelines state the following: “You must not use Facebook […]

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  3. I’m trying to find out whether it is legal to require a draw/competition entrant to have/use facebook. Note that facebook’s own rules do not constitute legality as you stated above.

    Illegal, or unlawful, is used to describe something that is prohibited or not authorized by LAW. (ie not by facebook)

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    • Hi Martin,

      I am not sure I understood your first point can you please elaborate/clarify.

      Illegal means prohibited by law indeed and here we are talking about Facebook laws.

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      • Surely you mean Facebook rules not facebook laws. This confusion is why it is so difficult to find this information. Facebook do not make laws. They make rules which apply only to the use of their own services.

        My question is whether it is legal for company X to run a competition/draw whereby it is compulsory for the entrant to use facebook to enter.

        An example in other media: A snack company advertises a draw which involves dialling a premium rate number to enter. They are required by English law to allow entrants to apply via mail, which circumvents their revenue from the call but since it is a free draw (ie there is no purchase necessary), so they have to offer alternative means of entry.

        The reason I ask is I receive emails from companies inviting me to win prize abc, but in order to enter the draw I have to login to Facebook, like them, and fill out a questionnaire. I do not have a Facebook account, nor will I ever have one.

        It seems unfair to lock me out of a draw because of that.

        Hence, is it legal for them to require I use Facebook to enter. This is a point of law I am querying. I am not interested in whethe facebook allow it or not.

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        • Oh okay I see what you mean! I think they should be allowed to do so. They are free to do a Facebook competition. The problem in the example you gave me is false claims about the draw entry being free while it’s not. I guess here in your case there are no false claims or any other issue i could think of that may be a source of problem…

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  4. […] know, Facebook implemented a while ago lots of rules and regulations for promotions on pages forbidding, for instance, the classical “likes” competitions. Well, here is a good news to all the social media marketeers and community managers: You are now […]

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