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.
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.
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!