Where: Menlo Park
When: August 2013
Law stated as at: 9 October 2013
Just too late to catch our September update, on 27 August 2013 Facebook announced a dramatic relaxation of its previous Pages Terms governing promotions on Facebook.
Previously Facebook’s terms required all contests and sweepstakes on Facebook to be administered within apps. Now, promotions can also be run on Page Timelines (but not on personal Timelines).
This means businesses can now run promotions where the entry route is:
– to post on the business’s Facebook Page;
– to like or comment on a post on that Page; or
– to message the Page.
The requirement for each promotion to include a complete release of Facebook by each participant – and an acknowledgement that Facebook doesn’t sponsor, endorse or administer it – remains unchanged.
Facebook has also clamped down on the practice of asking promotion entrants to “tag” themselves in content in which they’re not actually depicted. This is now expressly prohibited.
Why this matters:
The relaxation opens up a range of new possibilities for businesses looking to run promotions on Facebook – and allows for a much quicker and easier route for getting promotions up and running on Facebook. However the limitations of promotions run on the Page, rather than in an app, need to be understood. Three key issues stand out:
1. Incorporation of promotion terms: The straightforward entry route may be more marketer-friendly, but it makes it harder to disclose key rules and terms in a way that ensures they are read and agreed to.
2. Data capture: Where a promotion is run within an app, it can be set up in a way that allows the marketer to gather entrant data and use it again – subject to appropriate opt-outs/opt-ins – for marketing purposes. However that is not possible outside the app environment.
3. Winner contact: If your promotion entry mechanism is submission of a comment against a particular Page post, you may have no guaranteed route for contacting the winner. Unless you already have their contact details, you will have little choice other than to publish their name on the Page and hope that they get in touch.
In light of these limitations, there are probably two main ways in which these new possibilities will be exploited:
– casual and relatively low-value promotions where incorporation and enforceability of the promotion terms is less business-critical; and
– alternatively, promotions with a separate entry form – probably on the brand’s own website – and where participation in the promotion requires both completion of the entry form (including signifying agreement to promotions terms and usage of personal data) and an action on Facebook.