Can I Announce Facebook Contest Winners On My Wall?
Remember, contests are still not permitted on personal timelines.
The effects of the new rules for running Facebook competitions on a business timeline on announcing the winners
Since you can now run a competition actually on your Business Page and ask people to like or comment on a status update to enter, you must now be able to announce the winner on your Page’s wall/timeline.
Otherwise, how can you tell them? Remember, Pages are not allowed to communicate directly with personal profiles other than through their timeline. You cannot post on their personal timelines. You cannot private message them – unless they have already initiated a conversation with your Page through their email address. You cannot email them without an email.
I would also remind you that, if you start a new status update to announce the result, you will not be able to tag any of the winners to get their attention. Better to announce the winners at the end of the original competition status update. That way you can tag those people who have commented in that status update. Currently, there is still no way to tag people who have only liked a status update. It may be that this addition to a thread in which they have previously participated will show up in their notifications (the number with the little globe in your blue navigation bar) but you cannot rely on that – or on them seeing it if they do.
Here is a downloadable version of Facebook’s advice about running a Facebook contest.
Announcing Facebook contest winners on your wall if you are still using a tab/app
If you have run your competition through an app and only have emails, then I would still follow the old rules. Notify the winner by email first and then, with their permission, publish their name (NOT THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS) on your Business timeline.
PRE OCTOBER 2013 Facebook Contest Announcement rules – I shall leave this here for now in case they change the rules again.
So you’ve run a successful Facebook competition but how do you tell everyone who entered who has won?
According to customer services at Shortstack, announcing the winners of your Facebook contest is not a problem as long as you have notified them first and they have agreed to having you post them as a winner.
However Facebook’s rules regarding promotions send a very confusing message.
What do Facebook’s rules about contests and competitions say?
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.
i. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.
ii. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
b. Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
c. Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook.
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.
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.
v. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
vi. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
a. By “administration” we mean the operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.
b. 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.
I think the important bits here are that the competition must be administered through the app – so collecting and judging entries and notifying winners.
And then the bit about communicating/advertising/referencing a promotion in a Facebook wall post. The only time they mention communication is in the first para where if you are doing those things on Facebook, you have to comply with any legal regulations for the running of a competition but also with Facebooks own terms and conditions.
Different interpretations of the Facebook rules about reporting the results of a competition
A lot of this is going to be to do with Facebook avoiding any possibility of liability but also to do with privacy issues. However, since in these official terms and conditions, it does not say that you cannot announce the results on the page AFTER you have notified the winners via another method, my interpretation is that you can announce the winners on the page as well as in the tab, especially if you have gained the permission of the winners to do so.
I found this discussion on Quora which is pretty inconclusive. The last bloke says that you couldn’t prove you had emailed the winners first… which I don’t think is true since there are time stamps on the announcements on Facebook and providing you have responses from the winners acknowledging that they have been notified and agreeing that it’s ok to announce their names on your app/page.
The difference between Notify Winners and Announcing the results to those who have not been successful
I think there are some real semantics going on here but the difference between announce and notify is pretty clear in my eyes. Notifying winners is telling those successful individuals that they have won. Announcing the results to those who have not won is a completely different kettle of fish which has not been addressed. And even if you try to equate announcing with communicating – the official term that seems to be referred to in the rules – the official line is that you have to follow Facebook’s rules relating to promoting, advertising and referencing a promotion.
Most Pages only making announcements about the results of their Facebook contest on their websites
Having said that, I could only find one example who was running a competition legally who had announced on their wall. It said: “Hooray the winner of today’s salad competition is… [name of winner]! She wins a salad spinner, salad bowl, vegetable chopper and Schwartz goodie bag.” It doesn’t say whether they had notified her first.
I also found this post from 2011 which says that you should not announce on the page at all but should get your winners to come back and make their own announcement as a way of encouraging them to return – so that’s another option but which might be out of date.
So, what’s your view about this whole legal conundrum?
Do you want to increase the number of likes on your Page? Why not talk to us about running a Facebook contest?
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