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Facebook Timeline Contests – Putting Page Owners in FB Jail!

Recently Facebook sent its community into a spin by changing the Promotional Guidelines (aka the Rules set out for running Contests in Facebook).

The following day, Facebook Page Owners went crazy! Contests were popping up on Timelines everywhere! 

Despite Facebook making the Rules
easier, most Pages don’t read them, let alone follow them!

Like To Ente rFacebook Contest

Facebook Contests


Ooops HANG ON … ‘I didn’t know there were rules to follow, like what, and who cares, Facebook do nothing about it!’

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock and didn’t know that there are Guidelines, here they are … !

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

I cannot count how many times I’ve heard “Facebook doesn’t do anything about them, so who cares about the Rules”.

 ====> SAY WHAT <====

This week, Facebook are having a blitz on Timeline Contests!  Many Page owners are worried after being contacted by Facebook for violation of the Rules!

Asking Entrants to SHARE or TAG will land you in Jail!

Within a matter of a few hours yesterday, I was contacted by five different people who shared how they had just been slapped by Facebook. 

One poor lady was so shaken by the message received, that she took down every single contest  she had ever run on her Page’,  for fear of loosing her Page!

Another one lost her Contest image and all the great engagement she had created!  Simply by using the words “Share with your Friends”.

Facebook Violation

Here’s the post that Viki made from Social Media for Personal Trainers about her experience!

Facebook Contest Violation

Social Media for Personal Trainers Facebook

What’s interesting about this violation, is that Viki hadn’t even posted a contest.  She was merely asking her Page about what they would like to participate in and was given a warning.  After reading her post, it is my opinion that using the word Lottery ended her up in Jail!


And here’s another,  who used the words “Share” in this Contest, which resulted in her image and Contest being removed.


If you want to run a Contest on your Page, play nicely, follow the Rules and make it a fair playing ground for everyone.


* Don’t ask people to SHARE or TAG. 

* Don’t even ask to share in your messages (See Rule 3)!  

*Lastly, make sure your contest meets your local or state Rules!

As a contest app developer the world looked doom & gloom in August with the new changes to the Guidelines.  In fact, I had people contacting me saying “I guess it’s all over for you now that people don’t need contest apps”!

I believe the introduction of Timeline contests is an awesome way to run a short contest and create quick engagement on your Page  … but that’s all it is.

Use them, have fun with them, but for me … my personal recommendation will always be to run a Contest using an App for these reasons;

  • Easier to manage (its all in one location)
  • Ability to collect name and emails.
  • Collect any additional data you require ie. phone numbers or locations etc.
  • Can fangate your Contest ie. have a person Like your Page before entering (gaining additional social proof).
  • Much harder to cheat using an App.
  • Easily able to contact the Entrants and Winner at the end of the Contest.
  • Able to make an offer at end of Contest to Entrants.

If you want to avoid being put in Facebook Jail, play nicely, follow the Guidelines (the links are at the bottom of this Page (for ease of reference) and most of all have FUN!

While you are here – why not check out our Simple Sweepstakes App for less than a cuppa coffee a month you’ll get 12 months access to our sweepstakes app AND our bonus OnPage Contest Tool to manage your new Timeline contests!


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