Facebook New Sweepstakes Rules Restrict Certain Sweepstakes

As Facebook continues to evolve into a widely-popular medium that consumes our lives, so too are the restrictions on using the channel for promotional activities. Facebook's new restrictions on sweepstakes, updated on November 4, 2009, is causing some controversy as to its broad restrictions on certain categories of sweepstakes prize promotions. The Facebook Promotions Guidelines can be found here.

For example, Facebook prohibits promoting or administering promotions on its site that are marketed to individuals under 18, open to individuals of certain countries, promotes or awards as prizes any of the following product categories: gambling, tobacco, dairy, firearms, prescription drugs, or gasoline. Facebook also prohibits the administration of any promotion through Facebook prior written approval is obtained through an authorized account representative. Even where approval has been obtained there are restrictions on where the contest can be promoted. Facebook does allow non-prior approved promotions that are administered completely off of Facebook assuming that the promotion otherwise complies with Facebook's guides and terms and conditions.

Facebook's restrictions on certain categories of prize promotions, designed to address in many respects the myriad of state laws regarding promotions, has generated controversy on the grounds that it is perhaps overbroad. Our attorney Andrew Lustigman was quoted in this Associated Press article on the subject.

To learn more about our sweepstakes practice, click here.

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