Policy Watch: Facebook Page Owners Can Require Users To Become Fans in Order to Enter Contests

There has been considerable confusion about the ways that Facebook Page owners can — or can’t — offer promotions inside Facebook. The company significantly updated its promotions guidelines in early November. Among many other changes, it prohibited owners from running any contests or promotions that required users to perform any action outside application canvas pages or tabs in order to enter – apparently prohibiting page owners from requiring users to become fans to enter.

As the marketers who read this site know very well, this is a big issue, because promotions have proven to be a great way for companies to get more fans on Facebook. Owners can then use Pages to engage these fans about new products and other announcements.

But Facebook made more changes to its promotions guidelines on December 22, adding the following line, in bold:

4.2 In the rules of the promotion, or otherwise, you will not condition entry to the promotion upon taking any action on Facebook, for example, updating a status, posting on a profile or Page, or uploading a photo.  You may, however, condition entry to the promotion upon becoming a fan of a Page.

Requiring people to become fans to enter a promotion “has always been allowed, but we wanted to make it explicit as we often got questions about it,” according to a Facebook spokesperson. “So it’s not a new policy, but is new language in the policy.” The company’s latest guidelines also offer some examples at the end of the document about specific ways Page owners can or can’t condition entry.

You cannot: Condition entry in the promotion upon a user providing content on Facebook, such as making a post on a profile or Page, status comment or photo upload.

You can: Use a third party application to condition entry to the promotion upon a user providing content. For example, you may administer a photo contest whereby a user uploads a photo through a third-party application to enter the contest.

You cannot: Administer a promotion that users automatically enter by becoming a fan of your Page.

You can: Only allow fans of your Page to access the tab that contains the third-party application for the promotion.

So, for example, the Subway campaign that launched last week was following the guidelines in requiring users to become fans in order to participate in a promotion — winning coupons for free sandwiches.

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Leave a Reply

19 Responses to “Policy Watch: Facebook Page Owners Can Require Users To Become Fans in Order to Enter Contests”

  1. Jason Sattler says:

    Is Facebook approval still required for any promotion?

  2. Peter Corbett says:

    The promotions guidelines change was a big deal for sure – by now most of our clients have dealt with the new structure and converted to a 3 party app to run promotions in. I’m assuming other big brands have followed suit.

    Regardless, this post doesn’t highlight anything new – conditioning an entry to a contest on becoming a fan first was in the new guidelines back on 11/4. A full explanation of this in the rest of the guidelines can be found here:

    http://www.istrategylabs.com/2009/11/new-rules-of-facebook-engagement-social-promotions/

    Peter

  3. Coco says:

    I’m confused. What’s the difference between the two sentences below. They sound contradictory…

    “You may, however, condition entry to the promotion upon becoming a fan of a Page.”

    vs.

    “You cannot: Administer a promotion that users automatically enter by becoming a fan of your Page.”

  4. Morley says:

    @Coco: You can have an app that checks if a user’s a fan before their contest entry is submitted, but you can’t say “When you click “Become a fan,” you will automatically be entered into the contest.”

  5. Loretta says:

    I’m glad you posted about this. I was totally bummed out about the previous change and not being able to use becoming a fan as a contest entry. I’m glad that we can safely use that method again, it’s always fun and I’ve gained a lot of great fans that way.

  6. Why Should I Fan Your Brand? | Digital Likeness says:

    [...] an article on Inside Facebook outlines the policy regarding requiring individuals to become fans in order to enter contests on Facebook. Definitely worth a read if you’re planning on creating a contest on the page itself.) [...]

  7. Shannon Aronin says:

    “You can: Use a third party application to condition entry to the promotion upon a user providing content. For example, you may administer a photo contest whereby a user uploads a photo through a third-party application to enter the contest.”

    I am confused by using a third party app to force content creation as part of a promotion. Can anyone give an example? Would it be like post a link or connect to fb from Flickr where you posted a photo entry? Or is it a 3rd party app within fb? I’m not sure I’m interpreting this correctly.

  8. Tigran Pogosyan says:

    The promotions guidelines change was a big deal for sure – by now most of our clients have dealt with the new structure and converted to a 3 party app to run promotions in. I’m assuming other big brands have followed suit.

  9. Facebooks policy angående promotion och tävlingar says:

    [...] restauranger. Kampanjen har orsakat debatt framförallt i USA men även här i Europa. I bloggen Inside Facebook utreder Eric Eldon Facebooks regler om huruvida det här är tillåtet. I november när Facebook ändrade sina regler skrev Justin [...]

  10. Julie Anderson says:

    Facebook Owner/owners: Why can’t I get the listed friends off my friends pictures on my Facebook acct.? Also, why can’t I get back to my home page when I have looked somewhere else on my FB?

    I do not like the recent changes you made to FB…can you just go back to the way it was before you messed it up the last time?

    Respectfully submitted,
    Julie Anderson

  11. Running Contests & Promotions on Facebook « Fast Aperture says:

    [...] You basically cannot require users to do anything on Facebook as a condition of a promotion other than becoming a fan of your Page. [...]

  12. David says:

    I want to run a promotion on a page that would see us give away free tickets for an event. We have a very small budget, can we post “Become a fan and win a ticket” then promote this outside of Facebook. Alternatively can we say on our Facebook wall “Follow us on Twitter and win a ticket”

  13. 21 Creative Ways To Increase Your Facebook Fanbase | Social Media Examiner says:

    [...] of your fan page in order to enter a contest, sweepstakes, drawing or competition. See these two posts for further explanation. PLUS, good news: you CAN run contests and sweepstakes with the use of the [...]

  14. Samantha says:

    Ah, I see there are two different fan pages now. The real one has less fans…Brutal!

  15. liz says:

    Can someone clarify whether I can have current fans enter if they refer “X’ number of their Friend to become FANS?

  16. Brian says:

    My question is the same as Liz’s question. I want to give away a free Website setup to one randomly drawn person in return for having them suggest our page to their friends. Asking fans to suggest our page to all their friends & then post on our wall as to how many friends they suggested. We will then randomly draw a name from all persons who posted to decide the winner. Planning on promoting this using the Events tab. Does this fit into FB guidelines?

  17. Josh Constine says:

    @Brian & Liz: Your promotions may violate section 2.1 of the promotion guidelines: “You may require that an entrant like a Page, check in to a Place, or connect to your Platform integration before providing their full entry information for a promotion. You will not condition entry to the promotion upon taking any other action on Facebook, for example, liking a status update or photo, commenting on a Wall, or uploading a photo.” http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

  18. Liz says:

    Still confusing I’m afraid

  19. Top Tips for Running Promotions Within Facebook’s Guidelines | Designs With Kaushik – Web Shooters Kolkata says:

    [...] You basically cannot require users to do anything on Facebook as a condition of a promotion other than becoming a fan of your Page. [...]

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