Facebook’s Platform Policies currently permit advertisers to incentivize a Facebook user to take certain actions, including liking the advertiser’s Facebook page. This means that an advertiser may require a Facebook user to like their page as a condition of accessing a sweepstakes or contest application, which is a common practice referred to as “like-gating.” However, Facebook recently revised the section of its Platform Policies addressing incentives for certain actions, adding: “Effective November 5th, 2014, you may no longer incentivize people to like your app's Page.”

Facebook provided the following explanation in a blog post:

“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, check in at a place or enter a promotion on your app's Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”

Tip: While this change does not go into effect until November 5 and therefore should not impact the majority of sweepstakes and contests that are currently running, Facebook application sweepstakes and contests that will launch later this year and will extend past the November 5 effective date should not require Facebook users to like the sponsor’s page to access the application.