It’s no secret that Facebook contests and promotions tend to draw in new fans, increase engagement of current ones, and collect data to segment your audience. But making sure a certain promotion is acceptable under Facebook’s guidelines, that is a different kettle of fish. Here’s how to run yours without breaking the rules.

You might be thinking about running a Facebook contest or promotion as part of your marketing strategy. Either way, there are both legal rules and Facebook restrictions you need to check before you publish your campaign. If you want to make sure you’re on the right path when it comes to complying with Facebook’s promotion guidelines, then you’re in the right place: we’ve compiled the most important ones!

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not intended to be legal advice but rather suggestions about how to best adhere to Facebook promotion rules.

Rule #1: Make it clear that your promotion is not associated with Facebook

Facebook’s Pages, Groups and Events Policies specifically state:

Promotions on Facebook must include the following: a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant; and acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.

If it seems a bit jargonistic at first, fear not! Simply add a) a mandatory checkbox to your identification form and b) a written disclaimer to your rules saying that your promotion is completely independent of Facebook.

Rule #2: Post detailed contest rules

Publishing rules is a must for a) complying with the legislation, b) making everything crystal clear for participants, and c) protecting your own organisation. Disclaimer of sponsors, requirements for eligibility, deadlines, winner selection and notification, prizes, processing of personal data, how you will deal with contest fraud or cheating, applicable contest laws… Include as many details as you can, but keep it understandable for your participants.

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Pro tip: Always offer prizes that are relevant to your brand instead of something fancy like the oh-so-attractive free iPad. Sure, this could make you go viral and will definitely get you a bunch of new fans. But they will only be interested in free stuff, not in your product or services –so they will probably never become customers. Plus, sticking to prizes that are relevant to your business will help you avoid entries from sweepstakes clubs and the like.

Rule #3: Know what the do’s and don’ts of Facebook are

…But mostly the don’ts, really. Knowing what Facebook accepts in a promotion can be tricky, simply because they update the rules so frequently. Here’s an extract of the current guidelines, as of October 2018:

Promotions may be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections 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”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).

In plain English, it means that you can prompt users to share the campaign, but you can’t use it as a participation requirement.

So what can you do on Facebook? We provide you with a few ideas below:

Facebook contest: What you can't do What you can’t do: Force people to Like or follow your page (“Like to Win”) to enter a campaign

Facebook contest: What you can do What you can do: Ask people to Like and follow your Page

Facebook contest: How you can do it How you can do it: With a Facebook Soft Gate, which replaced the Fan Gate in 2014 already!


What you can't do What you can’t do: Require users to share your contest on their personal timeline or that of their friends (“Share to Win”)

What you can do What you can do: Encourage users to share your campaign on their Timelines or that of their friends

How you can do it How you can do it:  Use our virality features to award extra points or another chance to those who share your contest


What you can't do What you can’t do: Instruct entrants to tag their friends in your post (“Tag & Win”)

What you can do What you can do: Create engaging content that your fans will want to share with their friends

How you can do it How you can do it: Through interactive campaigns, of course ?


What happens if I break the Facebook promotion rules? By failing to comply with Facebook’s restrictions, you risk having your content removed or getting your page deleted.

Rule #4: Pay attention to local legislation

To keep things legal, check the applicable regional, national and international laws. Laws differ in different countries. When in doubt, always consult with a legal professional.

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That’s it! Thanks for reading. We hope that this article has helped give you a better understanding of the ins and outs of the Facebook promotion guidelines.

Facebook’s policies regularly change, so if you’re planning a Facebook promotion in the coming months, make sure you’re up to speed on its current guidelines. Seems a bit overwhelming? Move your campaign to your website or to a dedicated minisite, and promote it on Facebook. That way you can have more control over the rules and get more traffic to your website!

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