Facebook's New Promotions Guidelines

On November 4, 2009 Facebook issued new Promotions Guidelines which govern the publicizing or administering of any sweepstakes, contest, competition or other similar offering.

Publicizing a promotion on Facebook means promoting, advertising or referencing a promotion in any way on Facebook or using any part of the Facebook Platform. This may include, for example, in Facebook advertising inventory, on a Facebook Page, or through a status update. Administering a promotion on Facebook means operating any element of the promotion on Facebook or using any part of the Facebook Platform. This may include, for example, collecting submissions or entries, conducting the drawing, judging winning entries, or notifying winners.

The new Guidelines prohibit publicizing or administering a promotion on Facebook if:

• The promotion is open or marketed to individuals who are under the age of 18;

• The promotion is open to individuals who reside in a country embargoed by the United States;

• The promotion, if a sweepstakes, is open to individuals residing in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India;

• The promotion's objective is to promote any of the following product categories: gambling, tobacco, dairy, firearms, prescription drugs, or gasoline;

• The prize or any part of the prize includes alcohol, tobacco, dairy, firearms, or prescription drugs; or

• The promotion is a sweepstakes that conditions entry upon the purchase of a product, completion of a lengthy task, or other form of consideration.

The Guidelines prohibit administer any promotion through Facebook, except that you may administer a promotion through the Facebook Platform with Facebook's prior written approval.

Below are a few examples Facebook provided to help the public understand how to apply with the Promotion Guidelines:

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.

You cannot: Notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages.

You can: Collect an address or email through the third-party application for the promotion in order to contact the winner by email or standard mail.

You cannot: Instruct people (in the rules or elsewhere) to sign up for a Facebook account before they enter the promotion.

You can: Instruct users to visit the third-party application to enter the promotion. Since users must have a Facebook account in order to access an application on the Facebook Platform, if you give this instruction, they will be prompted to sign up for a Facebook account if they do not already have one.

A copy of the Guidelines can be found here.

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