Rules for Running Facebook Competitions

Posted on: 30th May 2014

Excited about running a Facebook competition? First you have to familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations before launching one. If you don’t, you’d be surprised all of a sudden when your Facebook page has been shut down because of breaching the guidelines. Do it correctly and you can run a successful campaign where your business can benefit much.

There are two sets of rules and regulations you should be aware of when intending to run a Facebook competition. First, there are the laws set by your state or territory. The other set of rules and regulations are from Facebook itself.

There are also two types of competitions you can launch – a game of chance type or a game of skill type of competition.

A game of chance involves an element of chance or randomness. The entrants simply submit their personal details and/or answer a simple question. Winners are selected randomly. There is no skill involved, just pure luck.

A game of skill, on the other hand, requires entrants to answer a question as creatively or as originally as possible (like in 25 words or less competitions). It might also require them to show a specific skill in order to qualify. For example, entrants can be required to upload an original literary piece, as in the case of writing competitions. There are judges that would determine the winner. The entrants must do their best to showcase their talent in order to win the prize.

State Laws For Running Online Promotions

Australia does not implement a uniform national guideline for promoters/organizers intending to run online competitions through websites and social media like Facebook. It is therefore essential for the promoters/organizers to consult the local governing body in its particular state or territory in order to determine the complete set of rules and regulations.

If the Facebook competition you are running is a game of chance, then most states or territories will not require you to secure a permit. These include Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland. For South Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria and New South Wales, a permit is necessary before launching a game of chance competition whether in the promoter’s own website or through Facebook.

The prize value also plays an important part in determining whether a promoter/organizer still needs to secure a permit for that particular state or territory.

If the Facebook competition you are running is a game of skill, no permit is required. However, you must ensure the following:

  • All entries are judged individually on their merit.
  • Judges select the winner that provides the best entry for a specific category.
  • The question must not have one specific answer; otherwise, you will add an element of chance in your competition.

Facebook Terms & Conditions

After knowing all the competition laws set by the state or territory where you intend to run the Facebook competition, now it is time to look at the Terms and Conditions set by this particular social networking site.

  1. The competition must be run through a third party app on a different tab
  2. When you upload the competition details, add a disclaimer. These may include, but not limited to, acknowledgement that the online competition is in no way associated with, administered or endorsed by, or sponsored by Facebook. You should also disclose that the entrants are providing their personal information to your business and not to Facebook.
  3. There are three specific actions that the entrants can do to your Facebook competition page: click “Like”, check into a ‘Place’, or connect to your app. Do not mislead the entrants into taking any other actions such as commenting about your wall post or uploading a photo on to your wall. All these actions must be done via the third party app.
  4. Any Facebook features or functionality is off-limits when you are thinking about your entry or registration mechanism. For example, clicking “Like” does not automatically entitle an entrant a qualified entry to the competition. The same rule applies to checking into a ‘Place’ or sharing an image on your wall.
  5. Any Facebook features or functionality must not be used a voting mechanism for your online promotion. Clicking “Like” must be done, if required, via a third party app.
  6. Winner notification through Facebook is a no-no. Never contact the winner/s using Facebook messages or chats as well as through posting on the timelines or pages. The best way to communicate with the winner/s is through their personal email, which is usually required when they enter your online competition. Winner announcements should not be done through Facebook either. It must be done through your website, on a specific Winner’s Section or through a blog post.
  7. Make sure that you have added a strict set of Terms and Conditions as well as a Privacy Policy to avoid controversies, disputes, and legal troubles. These include, but are not limited to, full prize details, prize value, draw dates and places, as well as what is included and/or excluded in the competition prize.

Never run a Facebook competition without being fully aware of the Facebook Terms and Conditions as well as the laws in your state or territory. Facebook can and will shut your page down without notice. It can mean bad publicity for your brand or loss of confidence from your consumer base.

Note: As of August 28, 2013, Facebook has made revisions to the rules, terms and conditions for running online competitions through Facebook.

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