New Facebook Promotion Guidelines: Go Nuts!

New Facebook Promotion Guidelines: Go Nuts!

Facebook have announced changes to their terms and conditions in relation to how promotions can be run. These changes make it far easier to run a Facebook promotion so we’ll no doubt start seeing them more and more! At time of writing this has been posted on the official Facebook Studio Page but oddly not the Facebook Marketing Page.

 

Then again, to most people, this news won’t change a thing. For a long time, professionals working in Social Media have been putting a lot of time and effort into developing competitions on Facebook that meet the very specific guidelines provided by Facebook … only to be drowned out by the vast number of Facebook admins running promotions that are against Facebook’s terms and conditions. What’s more frustrating is that many of these ‘invalid’ promotions – comment/like/share this post to enter our competition -prove to be very effective for the Facebook admin that set them up.

You hear about Facebook Pages being shut down due to not following the rules but the reality was that so many admins would ignore (or be ignorant of) the correct guidelines that Facebook ended up throwing in the towel and changing the rules.

In Facebook’s announcement they say:

We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps.

Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.

However, it’s worth noting that there are still clear regulations that apply (although the new guidelines are a lot shorter than the old. Easier for Facebook to take a step back?).

The New Facebook Promotion Guidelines

E. Promotions

1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:

a. The official rules;

b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and

c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)

2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.

b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted).

4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

The Old Facebook Promotion Guidelines

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. Acknowledgement 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.

So how can I run a promotion on Facebook?

Facebook Promotion ExampleWell, basically you used to have to create a separate app to run your Facebook Page. This was primarily (I guess) so that you could include a proper method of capturing the entrant’s details. e.g. by including a form that the entrant had to complete with their name and email address or phone number, along with a check box to say they accept your terms and conditions. This allowed you to fulfil another guideline by which you could not use Facebook functionality to contact people to tell them they won.

Now you’re entirely free to run a promotion almost completely within a standard Facebook post. The caveat being that you still have to “include the following:

a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.”

At first glance you’d think that within each post you’ll have to say “Blah blah comment below to enter, and by the way this promotion is not endorsed by etc. etc. etc.”. However, Facebook have published an example of a promotion that apparently ‘complies’ with these guidelines (the Jasper’s Market image). In fact, it kinda doesn’t as – in the screenshot at least – it misses the above ‘2 a.’ and ‘2 b.’ rules.

And seriously, where are the other terms and conditions? Does this promotion go on for ever? Can I dig up this post in 6 months time and expect to enter? Do I have to be over 18? When does the voucher expire? Seems a bit iffy.

Extra details aside, one way to make sure you’re covering Facebook’s disclaimers is by adding them to a separate static app on your Facebook Page (through the use of a ‘Policy’ tab like this – basic but functional- policy app I put together on the Miles Toyota Facebook Page). Another option is just to include a disclaimer in your Page’s ‘About’ section (although that’s a bit messy and you really want to use that to focus on how awesome your business is, not drivel about legal terms and conditions.

Another way, demonstrated here by New Zealand’s very own Newstalk ZB, is to include a link to a terms and conditions page on your website. This has the benefits of allowing you to include more details terms and conditions (including terms specific to that promotion – this could be very important!) and the funky side-effect of potentially sending more traffic to your website from Facebook.

Example Facebook Promotion by Newstalk ZB

But don’t go nuts yet…

Do read the guidelines properly as rules do still apply – one significant rule being:

Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted).

That’s a bit washy – it seems they’re suggesting you can ask people to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ to enter a promotion but not share. But, likes and comments do appear on personal timelines … don’t they? Either way, Facebook’s example is pretty clear so likes and comments it is.

Cue a zillion Facebook promotions – coming to a newsfeed near you!

Kudos Required

Big shout out to the very cool Wendy Thompson of Socialites. Wendy shared this news on Facebook, probably a decent amount of time before I would have noticed it myself! Socialites help businesses with Social Media. Go check ’em out.

Newstalk ZB were super-quick to try out the new guidelines, complete with terms and conditions on their website. They’re in the example above. Go give them a like on Facebook.

Bonus shout out to Drew for fighting the good-fight against shoddy Facebook Promotions!