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Facebook Changes Contest Rules

photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/robo7/In the past, Facebook required businesses and organizations to use a third-party app to operate contests or promotions on their Facebook pages. If you wanted, for example, to post a trivia question to your Facebook page and ask your followers to try answer that question in the comments to the post, you were only operating within Facebook's terms of service if you did not offer any prize. If you wanted to offer any prize, no matter how small, you had to use a third-party Facebook app run your contest.

Now Facebook has changed their terms of service, so you can run a contest or promotion on your Facebook page without using a third-party app.You can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

You can only do these things on a Facebook Page. Running contests on a personal Facebook profile is still prohibited. Facebook also still has some restrictions for how you run contests on your page (see their announcement for more), but it is definitely much easier to run a contest now.

If you do choose to run a contest on your Facebook page, make sure you have a good plan for how you are going to receive entries, what qualifies as an entry, how you are going to contact the winner and how you are going distribute the prize. You can really hurt your social reputation by running a contest that is disorganized or that people perceive as being unfair.

(Photo by xxrobot via Flickr)

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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