Facebook Giveaway / Contest Rules & Regulations Explained

Update (8/27/2013): There’s been an update to Facebook promotional guidelines <– read all about it!

NEWER UPDATE (8/14/2014): Facebook as made some updates surrounding promotion guidelines and their platform policy – read about these updates in our most recent post: Facebook Platform Policy Updates: What You Need to Know

If you run a giveaway, contest, sweepstakes, or any kind of promotion on Facebook, you know that the Facebook Promotion Guidelines can be scary. Very scary.

And if you break the rules, your Facebook page can be stripped from you faster than you can say furious. All that hard work that you put into engaging your fan base. Down the tubes. *sadface*

But nothing could be further from the truth.

I remember reading something to that effect on the web last year… *gulp*. But like you, we’ve read a lot of articles on Facebook promotion rules and regulations. There’s no shortage of blog posts and publications describing what you can and can’t do when it comes to running a promotion on Facebook. If there’s one common characteristic between all these articles, it’s that these guidelines aren’t as clear as they could be. Just check out the comments section on each post.

And you can add us to that list. We wrote a blog post about Facebook promotion guidelines 13 months ago.

Since then, we’ve watched over 250k giveaways and sweepstakes promotions run through Rafflecopter, a large majority of which have had some kind of interaction with Facebook. In addition, we’ve also introduced an official Facebook app, and been in touch with the folks at Facebook regarding promotions and the Rafflecopter platform. Needless to say, we’ve gotten to know the Facebook promotion guidelines pretty well over the past year.

This following post is meant to dissect each aspect of these guidelines to help you ensure that your next giveaway or contest on Facebook falls between the lines and ultimately take the scare out of your next promotion. So here we go: Facebook giveaway/contest rules and regulations explained.

Facebook Page Guidelines & Promotions Explained

When someone mentions Facebook promotion guidelines, nine times out of ten they’re referring the rules and regs that you’ll find outlined in Section E of the Page Features in the Facebook Page Terms document. Prior to March 2012, this document lived on its own page titled ‘Promotions Guidelines’.

If you have a Facebook page that you manage, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with this document in its entirety. We’re going to only concentrate on the ‘Promotions’ section, breaking it down below.

Before we jump into the seven rules / bullet points, take a look at the intro paragraph:

If you use Facebook to communicate about or administer a promotion (such as a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including the official rules, offer terms and eligibility requirements (e.g., age and residency restrictions), and compliance with regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered in connection with the promotion (e.g., registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals). Please note that compliance with these guidelines does not constitute the lawfulness of a promotion. Promotions are subject to many regulations and if you are not certain that your promotion complies with applicable law, please consult with an expert.

This paragraph is clear: it states that you’re the responsible party of the promotion you’re running. It’s up to you to make sure the promotion you’re running falls within the law.

Rule i. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.

If you run a promotion on Facebook, you must run it on a Canvas Page or a Page App. You cannot run the promotion on your timeline or profile page. For a page app or canvas page to be installed on your Facebook page, you’ll have to choose an app that’s right for your promotion. This can be a specific sweepstakes app, or a custom landing page in an iframe that you might have developed yourself.

Rule ii. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

  • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  • Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  • Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.

Here, Facebook is asking you to include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant, acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored or affiliated with Facebook, and a disclosure statement that the participant is providing information to someone other than Facebook. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – here’s a screenshot of how our Facebook app acknowledges this rule.

Rule iii. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.

When discussing Facebook promotion guidelines, rule iii and rule iv (below) stir the most controversy. As the sweepstakes or contest admin, you’re allowed to tell an entrant that they must be a fan of your page before being eligible to enter the promotion or before receiving some kind of incentive into your promotion so long as liking the page does not automatically enter that user in the promotion. The physical act of clicking the ‘like’ button can’t be an entry. That wouldn’t be fair to those who already like your page.

On that note, if you hold a giveaway and you state “all fans of my page on Facebook are entered into this sweepstakes because I love all my fans!”, you won’t be within these guidelines. Which leads in nicely to rule iv.

Rule iv. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.

Similar to rule iii, this rule states that Facebook features can’t be used as an entry. Clicking the ‘like’ button (the act of liking a page) or checking into a place cannot be the official way to enter the promotion.

Using Rafflecopter as an example, there is a ‘like’ button in the Rafflecopter entry form should you choose to award entries in your giveaway around being a fan of your page. However, clicking the ‘like’ button in our entry form doesn’t mean you’re automatically entered in the giveaway. It’s simply presenting a quick and easy way for entrants, who might not already be a fan of your page, to become one.

You still have to confirm that you’re a fan and hit the button that reads ‘I’m a Fan!’. Hitting the ‘I’m a Fan!’ button is the registration into the giveaway, not the physical act of clicking the ‘like’ button. According to rule iii, you’re not allowed to use any Facebook features or functionality other than ‘liking’ a page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. So having a ‘like’ button in the form is ok, but making it the button that registers entrants for the promotion isn’t.

Rule v. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

Voting mechanisms are more often seen in contests when users vote for their favorite photo, their favorite video, or the best essay. Typically, the entry with the most votes would then win the promotion. This rule states that you’re not allowed to use Facebook features and functionality, such as the ‘like’ button, as a way to let entrants vote.

Rule vi. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.

This rule is straightforward. If you hold a promotion, don’t contact the winner through Facebook. To abide by this rule, email the entrant to notify them. Or maybe tweet at them.

Rule vii. Definitions:

  • By “administration” we mean the operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.
  • By “communication” we mean promoting, advertising or referencing a promotion in any way on Facebook, e.g., in ads, on a Page, or in a Wall post.

These are definitions of what Facebook means when they say “administration” or “communication”. Not really rules, but part of the promotion guidelines.

The Facebook Platform & Your Promotions

Alright. You’ve gotten through the Facebook promotion guidelines. Done? Not quite yet. As developers of Rafflecopter, an app that uses and connects with the Facebook Platform, we’re asked to follow an additional set of rules that don’t normally come up when Facebook promotions are discussed.

Through the Facebook Platform, we’re given the tools that allow us to integrate Rafflecopter’s app with Facebook features and functionality. This includes the ability to log into the Rafflecopter widget via Facebook connect, the ability to launch a giveaway on your Facebook page using our official Facebook app, as well as the ability to place your page’s ‘like’ button in the app.

All developers and app creators that connect to the Facebook Platform are subject to the following three documents:

We’re going to focus on the third bullet: Facebook’s Platform Policy. In this document, there are policies in place that we must follow. To get a feel for what’s written in this document, here are two examples that aren’t necessarily relevant to Rafflecopter:

Policies I. 4. If you offer a service for a user that integrates user data into a physical product (such as a scrapbook or calendar), you must only create a physical product for that user’s personal and non-commercial use.

Policies I. 10. Mobile Web Apps that are running within the Facebook iOS app must not accept payments. In particular, these apps must not reference, use, or otherwise encourage the use of Facebook Payments or other non-iOS approved payment methods.

And here are two more examples that are relevant to what we do at Rafflecopter:

Policies I. 6. Your website must offer an explicit “Log Out” option that also logs the user out of Facebook.

Policies I. 13. The primary purpose of your Canvas or Page Tab app on Facebook must not be to simply redirect users out of the Facebook experience and onto an external site.

There’s a myriad of rules that we’re asked to follow similar to these four listed above. But there are three sections of the platform policy specifically mentioning rewarding users as well as promotion guidelines.

1) Facebook Platform Policies & Promotions Guidelines

In the depths of the platform policy, you can uncover a page called the “Platform Policies and Promotions Checklist” that discuss what you can and cannot do as an app developer when it comes to privacy, data and content, social channels, branding and functionality, and finally, Promotions Guidelines.

There are five items listed here in this checklist. These five items closely resemble the following rules in the Facebook Page Guidelines Promotions section: rule ii, rule iv, rule iii, rule v, and rule vi.

2) Facebook Promotions Guidelines: A Video

Did you know that also hidden in the depths of the platform policy is a video that Facebook released that describes Facebook promotions guidelines? Give it a watch if you haven’t already.

3) Facebook Platform Policies & Rewarding Users

Finally, there’s a page titled “Rewarding Users” that Facebook gives more specific examples on how you might be able to reward users where Facebook discusses referral based rewards, places, and the like button.

If there’s one important takeaway from the referral based rewards, it’s this: you can reward users for inviting a certain amount of folks to the promotion you’re running, which in turn, encourages sharing (whether that be by email, Facebook status update, tweet, etc). You can’t ask folks to directly “Share this promotion on Facebook” and award them an entry or a point for the physical act of sharing.

Finally, the page discusses the Like button. They state “We also allow for specific rewarding around the Like button, provided the incentive is open to all new and existing users who Like your Page.”

Rafflecopter / Facebook Introduction

On June 29th, a member of the Facebook Platform Policy Team emailed us. They asked several questions about our app, brought to our attention several concerns around the Rafflecopter widget, and asked us to provide a solution. Here were their two primary concerns:

Concern #1: ‘Like A Facebook Page’ Should Be Reworded

First, the team at Facebook thought that using the “Like A Facebook Page” entry option wasn’t clear to whether or not all new and existing fans were eligible for an entry. They also said the specific copy in the widget (‘Like Rafflecopter on Facebook’, for example) made it appear as if the physical act of clicking the ‘like’ button was the entry into the promotion, hence in violation of rule iv.

In hindsight, their perspective was correct. On occasion, this entry option would be interpreted by some entrants as ‘only folks who are aren’t yet a fan of the page are eligible for the entry’. While that certainly wasn’t our intention, with the help of Facebook, we changed this entry option to read the following:

Concern #2: ‘Like A Blog Post’ Should Be Removed

Second, Facebook asked us to completely remove the ‘Like A Blog Post’ entry option. Prior to July 19th, we gave folks the ability to have an entry option that would give folks a point for ‘liking’ the blog post where the widget was located. Starting on July 20th, no Rafflecopter giveaways are allowed to add a “like this blog post” entry option.

When you clicked this button, the page had the ability to be shared on the entrant’s timelines as well as the news feed. While we had originally thought this entry option was compliant, Facebook told us: Asking folks to ‘like a blog post’ in a promotion isn’t allowed. This entry option happened to be the least used in the Rafflecopter platform.

Conclusion: Rafflecopter Is Facebook Compliant

Facebook was very helpful in getting these issues ironed out. Their instructions were clear, they listened to our thoughts, and they provided good feedback. In the end, we’re happy to say we’ve gotten the green light: Rafflecopter is compliant with Facebook’s policies.

More exciting news: in the last two weeks, Facebook has updated their “Rewarding Users” page to include the following image:

We can only speculate if this image was added due to our conversation, but it’s great to see this example added. More and more apps are creating new ways to promote engagement through Facebook besides simply fan-gating content, whether that be a promotion, coupon, etc. *Bravo, Facebook!*

Facebook Giveaways: Some Closing Thoughts

Facebook Promotion Guidelines can be a scary thing. They shouldn’t be. As a company that allows you to run giveaways and sweepstakes on and off Facebook, it’s our highest priority to make sure all our users stay within the guidelines and are informed about the topic.

We monitor the heck out of Facebook promotions and their rules and regs so you don’t have to. That said, there’s always that chance that these guidelines will change tomorrow. If that’s the case, we’ll respond. To date, over 250k giveaways have been run through Rafflecopter. We haven’t had one instance of a Facebook page or giveaway shut down by Facebook. Here’s to another 250k more!

Have any additional comments or thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the author

Greg Goodson

Greg Goodson is the cofounder of Rafflecopter, the world's easiest way to run a giveaway online. Follow his shenanigans, ramblings, and memes on Twitter at @GregGoodson.

  • Erin Cox

    Thank you for this informative write up! The recent changes make perfect sense now.

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      definitely! glad it was helpful :)

  • Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking

    Thanks for covering it, answering all of my unanswered questions and doing all the leg work for us!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      you bet – thanks Lynne :)

  • http://twitter.com/MommieDaze MommieDaze

    Best explination of the rules I’ve read yet! Thanks!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      *dances* thanks for stoppin’ in :)

  • Vicky@Dilettante

    Great post, thanks for explaining the nitty gritty of the Facebook Rules and Regs!

    Per rule #6, would I be allowed to announce the winners of my giveaway on our company Facebook page? Something like, “Congrats to Amy W. and Charlie S. – They are the winners of our Summer Giveaway!” Or am I better off saying something like “Our winners have been chosen, are you one of them?” and then including a link to our blog with a post about the contest winners?

    Thanks again, I’m really pleased with Rafflecopter so far!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Vicky! To help answer your question, we’ve announced winners on our Facebook page before, but only after we’ve contacted them through email and asked if it was alright with them. I think that’s alright.

      You just don’t want to write a status update that says “Hey Julie – you’re a winner! Facebook message us with your address”. My opinion is that Facebook doesn’t want to be the go-to place for people figuring out if they won a contest or not. The further Facebook stays out of the way of people’s promotions, the less liable they are.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for the kind words :)

  • Jodi

    Great info … but UUGGHHHHHHHHH! ;-) Makes my poor little brain hurt.

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      lol – reading over Facebook promotion guidelines the first 100x made my brain hurt too :{ Once you cross the 300 mark, it gets better :P

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  • http://www.lazyrivr.com/ Andy Bell

    Really interesting and important post! I think almost every small business giveaway I’ve seen on Facebook has violated one or another of these rules, and even the university I go to has violated these rules on a contest before (the winner was chosen by number of likes on different Facebook posts).

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Andy! Definitely… these rules are broken constantly. A majority of the time, it might just be that the admin isn’t aware of the rules and just mimics another promotion that they’ve seen running on Facebook.

      • Jon Beer

        What “retribution” does Facebook even do? And how would they even find out, haha (there’s no, say, “Report this post for being a bad promotion” option )

  • http://www.facebook.com/katie.wilson.503 Katie Wilson

    You guys are awesome, thank you for doing all the hard work for us!!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      thanks for reading! :-)

  • monique burkes

    Thanks. I’ve interpreted the rules exactly as you’ve written them (including the concerns). I’ve only allowed “Like a blog post” on my Rafflcopter entries (LOL! Bad!), but not when I used my comments section as the entries. And you’re so right, Rule iv has caused so much confusion, when I think the rules was pretty straight-forward from the get-go. Thanks for taking the time to clarify.

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      you bet – thanks Monique! glad we’re on the same page :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1669550380 Kristin Sumner

    awesome! I am so relieved and happy! Thank you! All you guys/gals at RC ROCK!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      *blushes* thanks Kristin! :)

  • http://ychi.wordpress.com/ Yahong Chi

    Oh wow, intense and lovely breakdown! Off the top of my head, I can think of at least two Facebook giveaways that violated these rules. Good to be aware of them ahead of running any FB giveaways of my own.

    One part that confused me was: “you can reward users for inviting a certain amount of folks to the promotion you’re running, which in turn, encourages sharing (whether that be by email, Facebook status update, tweet, etc). You can’t ask folks to directly “Share this promotion on Facebook” and award them an entry or a point for the physical act of sharing.”
    Where does the difference lie between inviting people to your giveaway and sharing? Or by sharing do you mean the Share option on Facebook? Or am I totally off base here? :|

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      It’s definitely a confusing aspect to the rules! I’ll try to explain further:

      You can: award entries for referring 5 people.
      You can’t: award entries for “sharing on facebook”.

      The difference when you do it the first way is that it encourages the person sharing a more authentic message. Also, they’re only rewarded if they actually refer someone. Of course, if you’re awarded as an entrant to refer 5 friends, that might in turn lead to a share on Facebook, a tweet, or any number of ways they might get others to check out the promotion.

      The second way might encourage folks to sign up with fake accounts, where clicking ‘share’ has no value if they don’t have any followers or cannot refer people to the giveaway. Also, it’s way tougher to verify a ‘share on facebook’ vs a referral, assuming you have a system set up to track referrals.

      Hope that helps!

      • jjeffrose

        How can Rafflecopter help keep track of how people refer? For example, if an contestant gets 10 points for referring 5 people, is there a way to truly validate that through you guys?

        • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

          hey Jeff – Rafflecopter doesn’t have the ability to do that right this second, but it’s a feature we plan on building soon!

    • http://twitter.com/WildflowerShine Jessica Shevlin

      They mean the “Share” option on Facebook. You can post a link to your giveaway on your Facebook page to invite people to enter, but you can’t put “Share this on Facebook” as an entry method within the Rafflecopter widget. Hope that helps.

  • sean

    When is Pinterest getting built into the widget?

  • socialsavvymom

    This is fabulous!! Thanks so much for the clarification, off to share!!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      thanks! glad it was helpful :)

  • http://twitter.com/ruleteroboy Raul Dominguez N

    great!!! when you release the translated version of this awesome app? im from Mexico and i used rafflecopter very often but it hard to someone how dont speak inglish participated in the promotion.

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Thanks Raul :) So much to do, so little time! Supporting other languages is something we’d definitely like to do, though!

  • http://twitter.com/Unkatchable73 Kathy K

    WOW after reading that I know a lot of folks in violation of their polices!

  • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

    I know like a blog post wasn’t allowed, but is sharing the blog post an allowable entry method?

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Justin! Yes – sharing and liking blog posts are closely related to one another. Both are against their guidelines :o

  • http://twitter.com/spiritrun Colette S

    Thanks for taking the time to explain more about these TOS

  • NINA SPENCER

    I NEED A NERVE PILL….AND JESUS TO UNDERSTAND …I FEEL LIKE I JUST HAD AND ENCOUNTER WITH ALIEN NATION….(BRILLIANT ) I THINK….!!!

  • Heather @ Mommypotamus

    Thank you for this! The part about “referring 5 friends” vs. “sharing on Facebook” is very helpful. However, I am still confused about one basic thing. Can I write a blog post announcing a giveaway and then post it as a link on my wall assuming I meet all the other requirements? Thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Heather – I don’t see that being an issue. There’s no reason you cannot link to your giveaway as long as you contact your winners outside of Facebook. Hope that helps!

  • http://somarvellous.blogspot.com/ Maria Zaytseva

    I sometimes see rafflecopter giveaways on blogspot with entries like this: “Share this Giveaway via Twitter, Facebook, Bog post, Instagram,etc.”
    So, is this illegal?

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      It sounds like when one has an entry option like that, they’re asking for a simple share on some social network. It’s a bit of a gray area because if the entrant does wind up sharing on Facebook, technically they’d be getting an entry for the act of sharing on Facebook which is against their guidelines. I’d stay away from specifically mention Facebook in the entry option to be safe.

  • KRidwyn

    Thanks SO much for this, Greg!!! I’m just wondering though, if it breaks the rules if you use the Facebook ‘invite to an event’ function to reward attendees of that event? The way I see it, it’s not a ‘competition’ as such… but what do you think? Or if I were to only reward the first 50 people to indicate attendance, is that then a competition and therefore a rule-breaker? Especially as their names etc will be already ‘announced’ on Facebook as soon as they indicate attendance to the event? I’d really like to know! Because that’s what I was planning on “announcing” tomorrow…!!!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hmm – been thinking about this for a few minutes. Facebook is specific that you are allowed to condition registration or entry towards a promotion via having them check into a place. Not so much accepting an invite to an event.

      Why don’t you have them be rewarded for going to the event that you’re sponsoring? And in the promotion of the event, you can tell them they’ll be incentivized if they check in. I haven’t seen or participated in any promotions (except once) where you could be given something for checking in through a Facebook promotion.

      Hope that makes sense! That would be the safest (and best I think!) course of action.

      • KRidwyn

        Yay! That’s what I was hoping. So, just to clarify then, I can invite people to an event, and announce that the first x number of people who indicate attendance to said event will receive their ‘incentive’ when they check in at the actual event in person. That’s okay then?? (please!!!)

        • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

          Hrm… I truthfully don’t know if you can cap it at a # of people. If you worded it as “everyone gets one for checking in (while supplies last)”, that might work better, but if you only had 5 items to incentivize with, that would make some people upset. I’m not too sure about your specific promotion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/valorie.fischer Valorie Fischer

    I was wondering if there was a way to make the widget accessible to mobile users? I have a lot of fans who only access via mobile access.
    On a side note, I had given up on giveaways because of the FB rules, but this application ROCKS!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Valerie – thanks for stopping in :P

      Accessing via mobile is a bummer with the lack of page tab support from their app. You could always run the giveaway on both your Facebook page as well as your blog. If folks wanted to go to the blog to enter instead, that’s always a good backup option.

      We wrote a blog post about running the giveaway on your blog and Facebook page here that might help: http://blog.rafflecopter.com/2012/07/run-giveaways-different-locations/

  • Ahaq

    Can I ask entrants to subscribe to my paid web app to be eligible for the giveaway?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Priyadarshi-Das/1348304961 Priyadarshi Das

    Gr8 Creative n Friendly Work By Whole
    Rafflecopter Team :)

  • Shannon

    Thanks so much for spelling all of this out! I’m still confused on what I would like to do, however. I have a photography business page, and I would like to gift one session to the person who gets the most referalls to my page. IE: I’m wanting them to share my flyer and tell their friends/family to visit my business page, like it, then write on the wall telling me who referred them. Once I open the booking process for that particular event I will email the person with the most referalls to let them know they’ve won. Is this breaking any guidelines?

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Shannon! Thanks for stopping by :)

      Unfortunately, you can’t have folks writing on your wall as part of the promotion. It sounds like what you’re trying to do is run a contest and reward the individual that sends you the most referrals. While that’s not a bad thing, you cannot have any interaction around Facebook actions.

      Hope that helps!

  • http://www.eatingrules.com/ Andrew Wilder

    Thanks for this post, it’s really helpful. One thing I haven’t figure out, though: It seems like all of the Facebook guidelines refer to “Promotions on Facebook.” So do all these rules still apply if the Rafflecopter Widget is on my blog, and not actually embedded on my Facebook page?

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Andrew – I used to think about this same question all the time. Since Rafflecopter has functionality built using the Facebook platform, we’re asked to follow a certain amount of guidelines and policies which are equally strict as Facebook page promotions. If Rafflecopter didn’t have a Facebook app and all giveaways were run off of Facebook, we’d still have to abide by those. I hope that helps!

      • http://www.eatingrules.com/ Andrew Wilder

        Not quite the answer I was looking for, but yes, it helps. Thanks! :)

        • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

          Haha – I hear that :P You bet!

  • Admin

    Hey everyone , great post . Id like to know can we embed html or iframe to the custom option maybe ?

  • Coley

    What do you think about this statement? Does it seem to violate TOS?
    ** The more you comment, “LIKE” status updates, “Share” things, (these are not required) leave comments on the post page, etc (THROUGHOUT the week), the better chance you have of winning!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      it sounds like performing those actions will increase your chances of winning, so I say it’s against Facebook guidelines unfortunately :/

  • Emma

    What about a raffle where the entry is by purchasing a ‘ticket’ and the winner is generated at random to win the end prize? I can’t find anythign anywhere about the purchase of raffle numbers / ‘tickets’

  • Brenda Covert

    So now that my head hurts …

    I manage a Facebook page for a local restaurant that is holding a drawing each week till Christmas. It’s not a Facebook promotion. You have to register in the restaurant, where the drawing is also advertised. The owner notifies the winner each Monday by phone.

    Is there a problem if I alert the fans on our FB page about the drawing or post the winner’s name on our page? Again, it’s not a promotion administered on our page. Anyone who enters the restaurant can put their name in the drawing.

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      hey Brenda! that doesn’t sound like that will be an issue. I might ask the winner to see if they’re ok with you announcing their name on your page, but besides that, you’re in the clear :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donna-Viersen-Donahue/1278946192 Donna Viersen Donahue

    So I’m confused. I just attended a webinar today about legal uses for promotions on FB etc. One thing that was mentioned is a no no, is that of saying if there are so many likes etc, that such and such will donate X amount of dollars to a cause. Then in the same day I see DirecTV have a promotion that if there are X amount of shares by a certain date they’ll donate a pile of money to donorschoose.org. So which is it? You can or can’t do this?

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Donna! You’re able to donate to a charity based on the # of page likes, but what DirecTV is doing is definitely against Facebook promotion guidelines (donate for a number of shares). The conundrum here is that Facebook will only be notified about them breaking the rules if folks report this post. But a) entrants or fans on this page don’t know that it’s against promotion guidelines, and b) no one is going to report it even if they did know (what’s the benefit to the user?). So don’t use DirecTV’s promotion as a way of how to set this up on your page. Unfortunately, it’s not too uncommon to see promotions breaking the rules from large pages.

  • Francesca Ebeli

    Ive added all my contest info for my page Grt Fit and Healthy on Rafflecopters homepage; it is my first competition to celebrate our first 1000 likes. Yet when I click on the Log in With facebook icon, nothing happens? What am I doing wrong? How can I download the app to my Page. Im not very good at programming. Any ideas? Thanks

  • eva

    So it’s okay if you make liking your FB page mandatory before enteringthe giveaway as long as people have to post a blog comment to actually enter the giveaway?

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzette.horst Suzette Horst

    OK; I’m so confused. Can I have people comment on a blog post? Also, There’s a button when I go to build my giveaway that says, “Like bladityblah on Facebook” that I can add. I thought you weren’t supposed to do that?

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Sure – you can have folks comment on a blog post. Everything in the blog post above is valid, along with the entry options in our app :)

  • http://twitter.com/heyimALGENE heyimALGENE

    So does this mean, we can already include the “Facebook like entry” in our upcoming giveaways? Thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Yup – the Rafflecopter entry options you have access to are still legitimate :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorianne.ratte Lorianne Ratté

    Can we just ask our fans to comment under a photo instead of liking?

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Unfortunately no, because you’re still using Facebook functionality to help administer the giveaway. In this case, it would be the Facebook comments. Hope that helps!

  • lindsey

    Great post! My organization works with a number of other groups…would it be ok to say we’ll give a prize to everyone in one of those groups if that group gives us a certain number of likes by a given date? It’s not putting those who have already liked us at a disadvantage. Thanks!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Thanks Lindsey :) I would be careful about running a promotion like that – it starts getting into some gray areas. I could see arguments for both sides, but I’d play it safe!

  • Ada Miller

    Thanks for straightning all this out for us. I heard about the FB liking issue,but you know how things get changed I didn’t know what was the truth..so with that said I’m thankful for you all to figure it out,make changes to Rafflecopter and share it here with us.

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      yup :) everything in this article above still holds true!

  • Sureshy

    Nice article, but I couldn’t find answer to one question – is it OK if promotion is done in application where user has to write something in comment plugin in order to take entry to sweepstak? I haven’t found anywhere if this is allowed or not. I know it’s not allowed to just comment on wall, but what about in application?

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      sure – that would be fine. It cannot be a Facebook comment plugin though :( hope that helps!

  • http://dustindubois.com/ Dustin DuBois

    Great post! I just had a couple of questions. I realize that you’re not Facebook so I’ll just take your answers as advice and not “the word” =P.

    Would it work to say, “Help us get to XXXX “Likes” and we’ll run a giveaway for our fans where you can win “______”! – as long as a “Like” is not a direct entry and they have to use a form on an App tab? Just making a “Like goal” that gets us to run the giveaway.

    Does Facebook differentiate between monetary & non-monetary “prizes” in terms of giveaways/sweepstakes? Same rules apply for -any- direct reward for using a Facebook mechanic?

    Thanks!

    • http://twitter.com/rafflecopter Rafflecopter

      Hey Dustin – I can say with confidence that what you described falls within Facebook’s guidelines. I’m not certain about the monetary/non-monetary differentiation, but your 2nd paragraph is a great way to run a promotion!

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurie.nykaza Laurie Nykaza

    I’m new to these contest so I found these sweepstakes to be fun and won my first week so who wouldn’t want to do these. Facebook said I could not run a web site from my Facebook. I was following directions from the contest to do the likes and share on my Facebook page. I was doing nothing beyond that. What did I do wrong. Another person told me that they got in trouble with to many likes help I don’t want to do anything wrong but still want to play these contest.

  • Clueless in Illinois

    What if you ask someone for the contest rules and they refuse to provide them? What if they make it clear that if they don’t like who wins they will pick someone else? What if they require a credit card to accept the prize? What if they’re using your app? How do you report these contests to Facebook?

  • Marilyn

    I am an independant consultant for a direct selling company (like Mary Kay, Scentsy, Pampered Chef, etc) I host online parties through the events option on facebook. I like to give prizes away at these online parties just like I would give a prize away at my home parties. The way I usually have people enter is by placing their order on my website. Am I breaking the facebook promotion rules?

  • lindseyfmil

    so just to be clear you can do a giveaway for instance once you reach 500 likes on the page everyone who has ‘liked’ it is entered in the giveaway drawing?

  • http://www.buraq-technologies.com/ ambreen11

    This article has informative and sound piece of advice on the very important subject. Really great post. I spend lots of time reading stuff like this too but learned something new this time. Thanks

  • joy adalia

    Thanks for the very useful info :) I will comply with it on future giveaways – and bookmarking this page, too! thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/helen.c.hudson Helen GlitzyBitz Hudson

    can I ask how we are to get our Likers to enter the competitions via your app if we’re not allowed to mention it on our timelines?

  • Brenda Penton

    Very informative, well written post! You would think that if Facebook really wanted these rules to be enforced, then they would offer a way for users to report those in violation. Hopefully one day soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Tracy @ halloffamemoms.com

    Is this post up to date on FB policies as of today? Just checking. Also, I keep reading/hearing the angle on FB promotions being “administered” on FB but what about those of us who only run Rafflecopter /Facebook “like” entry giveaways on our blogs? Are we compliant?

  • http://www.facebook.com/amy.adamsnelson Amy Adams Nelson

    So, is it okay to offer an extra entry point for someone who shares my giveaway with their friends? Or is it that the person receives an extra entry per friend who accepts his or her request to join my giveaway? Does the Rafflecopter app keep tab of this?

  • rudemom75

    Okay, I have a question, does any of Facebook’s ‘New’ rules on giveaways have an impact on what all was said in this article? If so, could you explain. I run a blog and I do giveaways, but I also worry still about opening my Facebook one morning all my fan page is gone along with all my readers.

  • She Taggart

    Thanks for the overload Greg..love the 411 but gonna need to come back regularly and fresh up with all the changes. Think you can send me an off link to save in my files ? Or may I save it with your permission?

  • Olivia P.

    Can I post a picture on my facebook business page and ask people to “share” it on their wall to win an entry in the raffle? (Thank you for your help.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzanne.mccoll Suzanne McColl

    If I use the entry gate to enter my competition eg: like this page, fill in your details to go into the draw. Next page says share this for an extra entry into the competition. Am I breaking any rules?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alyssavictoriaplunkett01171991 Alyssa Victoria Plunkett

    i just wanna say thank you!!! There’s a lot I didn’t know that you guys put into very clear words. We just heard of a lot of huge pages being shut down because they were not compliant and i’m making sure my page it. This helps a lot :)

  • Brittany Warrington

    Hi great article, but I have one question. The promotion we are trying to do is a running shoe giveaway for a race. We are selling official photos online and wanted to do this giveaway to promote that. Is this acceptable according to Facebook’s guidelines?

    How to Enter :

    1. During the Promotion Period, visit ——) and find your official race “mug shot” photo or “candid photo”. Purchase at least one (1) photo. Then, visit and “Like” the following three (3) sponsors’ Facebook pages.

    1.
    2.
    3.

    You automatically will receive one (1) entry into the Giveaway once you purchase one (1) photo and “Like” the three (3) sponsors’ Facebook pages. If
    you purchase more than one (1) photo, you will be entered again for each additional photo purchased.

    I am new to this, so any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  • Leslie Korff-Stockton

    OK SO WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU WON A “CONTEST” AND THE FACEBOOK PAGE WILL NOT SEND YOUR PRIZE?

  • sherry
  • Barbara Jones

    Just to clarify – you are violating FB rules if you run a giveaway of product on FB page where you comment to qualify for giveaway and notify the winners on FB.

  • Leslie Korff-Stockton

    SO WHAT IF THE HOST OF THE GIVEAWAY DOESNT GIVE THE PRIZE INDICATED?

  • Isabel

    I’m still a little confused… I have had my page for over a year now and only just seen these guidelines!

    Please could you confirm that this is correct –
    you can’t say:
    “it’s competition time! For your chance to win , you must like this page, like and share this post/photo ”
    “You must like this page and comment below”

    Although it’s not a great way to generate fans, could I say “like this page and email your details to this “email address” to be entered into the competition” ?
    Or is it best/mandatory to run a giveaway via an app – as this will be within guidelines and also a better way to promote my page?

  • Suzanne Rudge (MapleMouseMama)

    Thanks for this extremely helpful guide Greg. I was a bit lost before reading this and practicing for a giveaway so a big, big thank you :-)

  • Jayleb

    This blog post helped allot answering my questions with FB. Thanks a bunch Greg.

  • Maja

    I see you never replied to certain questions here, but I guess I’ll try my luck. What really bothers me is what would be benefits of giveaway for the page owner, if he can not get new fans? No shares, no new fans. And I need exactly that!

    The other thing is: Am I allowed to post that I giveaway is running? Things like: ‘Tomorrow, we’ll start a new giveaway…..’, or ‘Hurry up, there is …..days left…’, etc.

    And finally: what is purpose of setting my own option on the app. (I have set up a question as a MUST-TO-DO entry), if no one, except me, CAN’T see the answers. The point about asking people what they like, what works for them is LET others see their answers, as personal experiences are the best advertisement for any business, right? I like the app.,I even have set up my picture by inserting a html code, but I still haven’t found the way to make it work FOR me!

  • Lotus Methric

    hi im a bit confused on one part i have a photography page and i host “giveaways: such as a discount on sessions or a free session but they still have to pay for the prints only the sitting fee is free…so my question is this within the guidlines or do i need one of the apps to do so? its never by just liking they must answer a question or such…and do i have to contact them to tell them they won on something other then facebook then post the winner thanks for your help please message me on fb id really appreciate it

  • Richard Ressler

    I know that requiring people to Share the contest to their facebook walls is not allowed. However, I am unclear as to whether we would be allowed to offer an incentive to share the contest…for example, offer a “bonus entry” into the contest. So you have to like the page…take the second action (i.e. hit the ‘I’m a fan” button) to be entered in the contest but if you also Share the Contest to your wall you receive an additional entry? I’m leaning toward thinking that the answer is going to be no on that but I would appreciate your opinion on it.

    If the answer to the above is in fact no then what about a suggestive sell toward the sharing of the contest. For example, immediately following the contest entry, a share window/option pops up in which the user must then click the share/ok button to share it to their wall (of coarse this would have a cancel/no thanks button as well).

    I am working on an idea for a new facebook page and the reason I am considering running a contest is to generate traffic/likes to the page asap when the page goes live. Being a new page…if nobody has any incentive to share the contest then it would make running the contest a mute issue. I’m not complaining to you are anything, just explaining why I am trying so hard to find a workable loophole to get the share option into the contest procedure…lol.

  • http://surelikes.com/ Facebook Likes

    interesting. I’ll give your rafflecopter facebook app a try. thanks!

  • The Bride Link

    This has been so helpful! Thank you thank you thank you!!

  • Becca

    Hi I am new the running a fan page on FB and ran across this blog on my search for the rules on giveaways. So I want to run a giveaway… and with everything I have read it’s still a little confusing to me. So let me tell you what I want to do and if this is within the guidelines…. I am running a giveaway that will include some products from local vendors. Not sure how your app works but in order for the participants to be entered they would not only have to like my page but the other business pages as well… So first how would I put that into the app also another thing, So I could now who liked all the other fan pages I was thinking about having them just send me an email saying they liked the other business pages and that would then enter them in the giveaway. Your advice is GREATLY appreciated!! Thank you!!

  • emma

    I recently purchased facebook likes from http://1000-likes.com/ and they delivered real likes to my page. Recommended service

    Thanks…

  • Matt Donnelly

    @Rafflecopter

    I was hoping there would be something along the lines of “Sharing” during promotions I want to know what the guidlines are on that. Because it will be for everybody who’s already liked and new people as well so it should be aloud

  • Angel Rosalez

    I was picked as the winner of a $1,000,000,000. this morning and as I was about to register my info, my computer crashed, now I can’t find the link. dose anybody know how I go about finding out if I can still claim my prize?

  • http://getfbfansandlikes.com/ hron023

    The industry has similar network economics to Amazon, eBay and Google, says Ms Koller, in that “content producers go to where most consumers are, and consumers go to where the most content is.” Simon Nelson, the chief executive of FutureLearn,

  • Jami

    Can I do a Facebook post announcing the giveaway that includes a mobile friendly link to my rafflecoptor widget?

  • m_gear

    A large percentage of Facebook promotions are probably illegal. Facebook itself may not prohibit requiring people to “like” something for entry into a sweepstakes, but in court, that requirement would probably be seen as a consideration in many cases — something of value to the entity running the promotion — and requiring considerations without providing an alternative method of entry is generally illegal when it comes to sweepstakes.

  • m_gear

    “As the sweepstakes or contest admin, you’re allowed to tell an entrant
    that they must be a fan of your page before being eligible to enter the
    promotion or before receiving some kind of incentive into your promotion
    so long as liking the page does not automatically enter that user in
    the promotion.”
    ———————–
    Again, that might be okay according to Facebook’s own rules, but that does not necessarily mean that it is LEGAL to require that someone “like” a page to gain entry to a sweepstakes. If people want to play it safe, they should offer an alternative way to enter the sweepstakes that doesn’t require “liking” anything (e.g. an e-mail address and/or mailing address where people can send entries). It is not at all unlikely that courts in some states would rule that a requirement that someone “like” a page in order to enter a sweepstakes is a consideration, and hence, illegal for a sweeptakes.

  • Anne Sweden

    Greg, any thoughts on Facebook’s newest policy change regarding “like-gating” and not attaching an incentive to people liking a page? Do you feel that offering a Facebook like on Rafflecopter’s entry form is an incentive to the contest promoter and therefore not allowed anymore? https://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2014/08/07/Graph-API-v2.1/

  • Sarah

    I need a recent update on this as your post is very old. Please update. Im totally confused!

  • Michael @ snapWOW

    For context, my business is a photo editing service (http://snapwow.net), and I want to raffle free photo editing services.

    In my raffle form, can I request for the entrant’s agreement to post something specific (their before and after pics) on Facebook if they indeed win? I’m not requiring them to post anything for entry into the raffle, and not going to go after people if they don’t do what they agreed to. But I’d like for people just to check the box that they agree to do it if they win – it’s something I think they would want to share anyway, but I may want their advance agreement in doing so.

    Similar to my question above, can I ask for the entrant’s agreement for me to use their before and after pictures (if they win my “free photo editing” prize) in my marketing materials?

  • darla magee

    hi, what if the prize given to someone as a winner was less than the prize they advertised in the contest/giveaway? that’s illegal isn’t it?