The New Terms announced by Facebook on August 27, 2013, have removed restrictions that prohibited Pages from running contests and promotions on their pages. (Running promotions on a Personal Timeline is still prohibited.)

While it may come as a surprise to Facebook users who’ve been seeing contests and promotions on Facebook Business Pages since the beginning, until now these contests were illegal. Many Pages got away with this rule infraction because Facebook was not able to monitor all Pages on its site. (Whether Facebook is relaxing its rules because of this is open to debate.)

However, the new Facebook Page Terms now allow companies to:

  • Collect entries by having Friends “like” or “comment” directly on an Update/Page Post;
  • Collect entries through Messages on the Page; and
  • Use Page Likes/Page Post Likes as a voting method.

FB promoThis is great news for smaller businesses whose contest entries may be limited to a few hundred entries, giving them the option to avoid the fees charged by Third Party apps.

However, larger companies that run contests and promotions that see thousands of entries will still benefit from Third Party services like Wildfire, Woobox and ShortStack that provide useful tools and support for running promotions, sweepstakes and contests.

A quick look at the Facebook Page Terms will show that there are still rules. And while the sheer number of Pages on this social site presents a challenge for enforcement, not following the rules can be a dangerous game for companies with active and successful Facebook Pages.

Following is a snapshot from the FB Terms regarding 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.