Hot on the heels of new rules for Twitter-platformed prize promotions, Facebook has now introduced with immediate effect a brand new set of guidelines for Facebook-based promotions. The changes are quite radical and open up new freedoms for promoters, reports Stephen Groom.
Topic: Social media
When: December 2010
Where: Palo Alto
Law stated as at: 12 January 2011
Facebook introduced big changes to its Promotions Guidelines effective 1 December 2010. These apply to all "sweepstakes" (a promotion that includes a prize and a winner selected by chance), contests, competitions or other similar offerings on Facebook.
Two key changes are as follows:
- the promoter no longer has to commit to a minimum spend on media for advertising activity around the promotion; and
- promoters are no longer required to obtain Facebook's prior written approval before administering a promotion on Facebook.
However the following types of promotion are still not allowed:
- conditioning entry into the promotion on a user providing content on Facebook, such as posting on a Wall of a Page, uploading a photo or posting a status update. However a third party application can be used in this context. For instance you can administer a photo contest whereby a user uploads a photo to a third party application in order to enter the contest; and
- running a promotion that users automatically enter by liking your Page, checking into your Place or connecting to your Platform integration. This seems a backward step given that the previous and now superseded Guidelines stated: "You may, however, condition entry to the promotion upon becoming a fan of a Page." However the new Guidelines say at 2.1 "You may require that an entrant like a Page, check into a Place, or connect to your Platform integration before (our italics) providing their full entry information for a promotion."
Other restrictions include:
- users can only be allowed to enter the promotion (1) on the canvas page of the application or (2) on the application box in a tab on a Facebook Page;
- the following statement must be made "This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing information to [insert recipient of information] and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for [insert any way that you plan to use the user's information].";
- the promotion rules must include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant and an acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook;
- the promotion can only be open and marketed to individuals who are 18 or over;
- individuals residing in Belgium, Norway, Sweden or India may not participate; and
- No part of any prize may include alcohol, tobacco. "diary" (we think they mean "dairy products"), firearms or prescription drugs.
Why this matters:
The dropping of the need for minimum media spend and written approval are key changes which will make Facebook-based promotions more viable for SMEs. However the rules are still restrictive and marketers should not lose sight of the fact that breach of the Guidelines could lead banishment from Facebook.
It should also be remembered that these are not the only Facebook controls over prize promotions. Other rules that must be followed include the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilites, the Facebook Ad Guidelines and the Facebook Platform Policies.