Does your company administer promotions, like contests and sweepstakes on Facebook? If so, Facebook changed its rules and now no longer requires that promotions be administered through an application. While marketing teams scramble to come up with new promotions to administer directly on their company’s brand Pages, lawyers should be reviewing Facebook’s newly revised Page Terms and Promotion Guidelines to make sure your company’s upcoming contests and sweepstakes will be compliant with Facebook’s new requirements.
On August 27, 2013, Facebook announced updates to its Promotion Guidelines to make it easier for brands and companies to administer contests and sweepstakes on the Facebook platform. Here is a quick summary of the most important updates to Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines and Page Terms:
- Apps Are Now Optional: Facebook eliminated the requirement that promotions be administered through an application that interacts with a company’s Facebook Page. When administering promotions on Facebook, companies and brands now have the flexibility to: a. Collect entries by having users post on the company’s Page or comment/like a Page or post; b. Collect entries by having users message the Page; or c. Utilize the “like” button as a voting mechanism.
- Personal Timelines Still Off Limits: As was the case before, companies still cannot administer promotions that allow an individual to post on their personal Timeline in order to receive an entry. Thus, you cannot require a user to post content on their own personal Timeline as an entry mechanism for either a contest or a sweepstakes. If you want a user to submit content such as a photo or video as part of the entry process, you should instead require the user to post that content directly on your company’s Page.
- Accurate Tagging of Photos Required: Facebook’s revised Page Terms now prohibit Pages from encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in. For example, while it is ok to ask people to submit names for a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize, it is not ok to ask people to tag themselves in a picture of a new product in exchange for a chance to win the prize unless the individual actually appears in the photo.
- Requirements That Haven’t Changed: Facebook’s Pages Terms still include certain requirements for administering promotions on the Facebook platform that existed prior to the recent update. Sponsors of promotions administered on the Facebook platform must include: (i) a complete release for Facebook from each entrant or participant; and (ii) an acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Also, of course, companies can still choose to administer promotions via their Page tabs and apps so long as the promotion is run in accordance with Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines.