With immediate and worldwide effect, Facebook recently announced a new policy governing all those conducting prize promotions on its site. Brian Heidelberger, partner in Winston & Strawn Chicago, and Monique Bhargava, associate at Winston & Strawn, reports on the key implications for promotion marketers.
Brian Heidelberger, Partner, and Monique Bhargava, associate, Winston & Strawn, Chicago
Facebook recently released a revised policy for administering sweepstakes and contests through Facebook. The new policy sets different rules for publicizing contests and sweepstakes on Facebook pages than administering such promotions
Promotions which are administered on a website separate from Facebook (e.g., on the company’s main website) can be advertised on a company’s Facebook page without the need to obtain written consent from Facebook. However, promotions can only be administered through a company’s Facebook page if the company: (1) obtains Facebook’s prior written consent and (2) if the promotion is administered through a platform application.
The new policy prohibits promotions which use “native” Facebook functionality to collect entries. For example, sweepstakes which allow consumers to enter by becoming a “fan” of a company on Facebook are prohibited. Similarly, a contest whereby entrants post a photo on the company’s Facebook page wall would also be prohibited since it uses the Facebook wall function.
If a promotion is administered through a company’s Facebook page, entries may only be collected through a platform application. Thus, a photo contest which allows users to upload photos through a platform application on Facebook is permissible (provided the company secures Facebook’s prior written consent).
Facebook’s policy also prohibits companies from contacting Facebook members for winner notification purposes through Facebook messages, chat or posts on user profiles. Companies may use contact information collected through platform applications to notify winners.
Finally, Facebook has stated that companies are not allowed to post their own terms and conditions applicable to pages, however they may link to a policy which outlines what user actions are permissible with respect to a company’s Facebook page. Such policies may not reserve rights to use a consumer’s posted content or threaten legal action against a user for failure to comply.
TIP: If you are considering administering a promotion through your Facebook page in which you will allow users to enter through the Facebook website itself and not by going to a separate website, you will need to use a platform application to collect user entries and contact information and must contact Facebook to obtain prior written permission. If you plan on using content from users for advertising purposes, only do so if the content was collected through a platform application and you clearly disclose to users that their content may be used for such purposes.
Winston & Strawn
Winston & Strawn