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How to Run a Contest on Facebook Without Fear of Your Business Page Getting Shut Down

Facebook Contests

Running a contest on Facebook is one of the best ways to get and keep fans. Let’s face it – many people are fans based on what they can get out of it… and there is nothing wrong with that. What would be wrong is not responding to what your customers are demanding.

Facebook terms can be confusing and some businesses shy away from doing contests because of this so let me clear up those rules for you.

Others proceed ignorant of the rules and find their Business Page shut down by the powers that be. Don’t make either of these mistakes. So go ahead and run contests… just do it by the rules.

Here are a few things to keep in mind (although it is always recommended to check the latest Facebook Terms before running any contest – Facebook can, of course, revise them at any point).

Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.

Accurate tagging is required in promotions

In order to maintain the accuracy of Page content, our Pages Terms now prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in. So, for instance:

  • It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
  • It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

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. Facebook will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use their service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

Here is a key point that you can use as a bit of a loophole: you can put in pre-conditions to accessing the contest. For instance, you can give access to your 3rd party application that administers the contest only to ‘Fans’. So while you can’t use the Facebook platform to actually enter people in the contest, you can require them to take an action to get access to the contest. This can drive up your Facebook community numbers while still staying on the right side of the regulations.

To keep it simple you can promote your contest on your page with a link. If you would like to use a more interactive third party app you can do so as well. You can also do it with Facebook Ads, on your profile, etc. The one hard and fast rule is to make sure you do not use any part of their platform or tools as part of the contest. For extra protection, make sure you post a disclaimer that the promotion has nothing to do with Facebook.

Only you can decide the right method for your business. But it would be a mistake to ignore this opportunity for deepening the connection with your fans. Don’t let a few rules keep you from trying it.

Photo Credit: Facebook Contests/shutterstock

Join The Conversation

  • Nov 27 Posted 3 years ago PCAAAlana

    I'm wondering if any of the commenters can help with a contest question I have. I ran a promotion on our Facebook page a few weeks ago - "share" our page to be entered to win one of our t-shirts. When it came time to select our winner, I noticed that 23 people had shared our page, BUT I could only see 18 names (thus 5 people weren't entered in the drawing to win). Why did this happen (could it be due to those 5 users privacy settings??) and how can I avoid this issue in the future?  Thanks!

  • Nicole Healing's picture
    Nov 25 Posted 3 years ago Nicole Healing

    "Here are a few things to keep in mind (although it is always recommended to check the latest Facebook Terms before running any contest – Facebook can, of course, revise them at any point)." Evidently you didn't take your own the others above have mentioned, Facebook relaxed the rules again in August this year... Oops!

  • Nov 25 Posted 3 years ago TFA

    Hi Brett,


    Really interesting article. Thank you.

    Despite the different FB rules, I've seen on "" a brand new system called the f-site (powered by pageyourself) that allows anyone to easily create and run those kind of contest.




  • Nov 25 Posted 3 years ago anjabarisic

    Hi Brett,

    Facebook revised their competition rules in August, making it easier for businesses of all sizes to administer promotions. You can now run a competitions via page posts.

    There are still some rules that you need to adhere to, but you no longer need to run competitions through third party apps.

    See the details here:

    Entries can be collected through page post likes/comments or even messages.



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