Facebook Contest Rules Checklist

Facebook Contest Rules & Checklists – updated 15/08/13

are a boon for building fan bases, rewarding existing fans and developing engagement, so I discovered today while checking out the requirements for a client.

In addition to checking out the Facebook ToS about Competitions, Sweepstakes, Promotions and the like, this is a summary of what you need to know:


  • You MUST administer ALL contests, promotions, and sweepstakes on Facebook using a third-party application and never use the Facebook platform such as your Page wall, the Events app, Groups or any other Facebook functionality to run your promotion. Note that a third-party application also includes any applications you create yourself.
  • Each entrant must release Facebook of any liability. This is acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • You MUST have clearly defined contest rules that are visible directly on your application Page.
  • Participants MUST know and acknowledge that they any information given for the contest is given to your business, not Facebook.
  • The contest MUST have its own registration or entry form.


  •  Facebook’s tools CAN’T be used for the contest, meaning you cannot encourage participants to enter by “liking” a page or using check-in.
  • You also CAN’T require contestants to use FB features to be eligible (e.g., no requesting photo or video uploads, likes, wall posts, check-ins).
  • The like button CAN’T be used as a voting mechanism or registration process.
  • You CAN’T use Facebook’s like, share, comment button to enter, nor use the photos/videos tab as a voting mechanism/registration for a promotion.
  • You CAN’T notify or contact winners inside Facebook (via direct messaging, chat, posting on the winner’s wall or posting on your own Page wall).
  • You CAN’T choose a fan for a random draw since this means that you would use Facebook to collect entries unless you do it somehow through a third-party application.


  • You CAN upload photos or videos for a contest but it needs to be done via a third-party application and not through the default Facebook photo/video tab on your Page.
  • You CAN have users like your Page, check into a Place, or connect to your app before entering your promotion as long as the promotion is administered through a third-party application and is not used as a voting mechanism or a registration for your promotion.
  • You CAN collect names and emails from the contestants. This is actually recommended especially for the purpose of contacting the winner(s). This doesn’t give you the right to add email addresses to your mailing list unless you specifically include it in your terms and allow for opting out. 
  • You CAN promote a contest on your Facebook page…”as long as there’s no requirement to do anything on Facebook; e.g., like your page, comment, upload content, etc. You can simply post a link on your page to the contest. And, to be fully safe, I would also include this disclosure, This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.”
  • Mari Smith suggests “…provided you comply with the rule to use an app to run the contest, you CAN use all the Facebook features to promote the contest, whether ads, wall posts, adding milestones, pinning to the top etc”.

(Courtesy of Flowtown Social Media Examiner & Social Media Today)


Some of the useful apps you will find are useful for ensuring compliance and communicating the before, during and after the promo are:

  • Woobox
  • Shortstack
  • Wilfire
  • Lujure (aka as Heyo – since October 2012):
  • Pagemodo
  • North Social
  • Contest Domination

You will also need to set up a Facebook Ad Campaign and / or a database. For this you will need graphics, an email campaign and other plans in place to maximise the promo..

Be sure to read Facebook’s Page Guidelines , Ad Guidelines , and Platforms Policies

There is a risk of losing a Facebook Page by not complying with these.

What I am discovering is a grey area in certain circumstances e.g. where Facebook Ads promote a prize draw on a url away from Facebook at a website, or where prize draws for those who already book and pay for a service goes. I am seeking more answers on this one. Facebook’s guidelines are not straightforward. Many a Social Media Consultant is finding this!

Some other posts you will find helpful are:



Good Contest Planning and Facebook Ads know how are essential for your results. Facebook is ever changing.

For a Facebook Competition Audit or sessions and planning to set up compliant Facebook Competitions,

or to fix your non-compliant Facebook Competitions

email me at jenny@tweettwins.co.nz

or call Jenny on 021 1221 541.


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