“Like, Tag & Share” Facebook Contests: Are they against Facebook’s rules?

The short answer: YES.

But first, some background.

For nearly as long as businesses have been on Facebook, there have been contests and giveaways. Perhaps you’ve seen them (yes, you have, unless you’ve been living under a rock). Typically a business page will run a contest or a giveaway and to be eligible one must like the post, tag a friend in the post and also share the post to their personal Facebook profile.

This happens all over Facebook, so you’d think it would be perfectly in line with Facebook’s policies, right?


Let’s take a look at Facebook’s policies, which you may or may not find as interesting as I do. If you pull up the policy pertaining to Facebook Page rules this will be a little easier. Once you have the document in sight go ahead and scroll down a bit to the section titled “Promotions on Pages, Groups and Events.” There are several details worth noting here, but today we’re just going to zero in on the paragraph heading called “Administration of a Promotion.”

I’m going to quote directly here for the sake of clarity. Facebook’s policy states:

“Promotions may be administered on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections 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”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).”

First thing to note is that they do give you permission to run promotions on your page, group or event. So far, so good. The big thing that I want you to notice here is the next line. And the one after that.

Facebook explicitly states that asking people to share a post or tag a friend on a post in order to enter a contest is not allowed.

Let me repeat: your Facebook page is technically not allowed to make people tag someone or share your post to enter into your contest.

Yes, I added ‘technically’ in here for those of you who are paying attention. The reason being is that too many pages ignore this rule. You know this because you probably just saw about eight different posts that your friends shared this week alone about entering a contest. Or, even more annoyingly, perhaps your friends keep tagging you in a contest so they can become eligible to win something or other.

So if ‘everyone’s doing it,’ as they say, why isn’t Facebook cracking down?

That’s an excellent question, and one I don’t have the answer to. (What, do I look like Mark Zuckerberg to you?) A reasonable guess might include the fact that some of these businesses are small enough to fly under the radar. Or perhaps Facebook’s algorithm isn’t so great at detecting these kinds of policy violations right now. Or maybe Facebook just likes to be annoying. Anyone who has ever administered a Facebook page is likely rather familiar with random glitches (AKA things randomly not working and/or disappearing from time to time). As much as Facebook can be great for business, it can be just as annoying and irritating sometimes.

I don’t mean to be a killjoy here, but if your page has run contests that require people to tag anyone or share anything to enter…Please stop. I know that it seems like no one else is following the rules but there are a few of us sticklers that actually are. I can’t imagine Facebook wrote up this rule for no apparent reason so it stands to reason that at some point they will start cracking down on this behavior. And I would guess you don’t want your page or your ad account shut down, right?

Got questions about the contest rules? Send me an email: brittany@bvanderbillconsulting.com.

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