On May 11, Facebook revised its promotions policy . This evolving set of legal guidelines govern all promotions run on Facebook, and outline what Page owners can and can not do when running promotions on Facebook to remain compliant with Facebook policy .
The primary change to the Facebook promotions policy  is the removal of some specific prohibitions on certain types of promotions, as well as guidelines around minor participation in promotions. Major items that have not changed include that all promotions must be run within 3rd party apps on Facebook.
What does the policy mean for your Facebook promotions plans? Here is a breakdown of the details:
Facebook Promotions Policy Overview:
- The primary change in this update is that Facebook has removed some specific prohibitions on certain types of promotions, such as promotions involving alcohol, dairy, firearms, gambling, and gasoline. While this does mean that promotions can now offer alcohol or dairy as a prize, for example, the new guidelines also strongly maintain that all promotions must comply with all laws and regulations of the jurisdictions where the promotion is open. This means that the burden of responsibility for checking that a promotion can legally offer a specific prize remains in the hands of the promotion administrator and page owner, and that by running such a promotion on Facebook, he or she is affirming that the promotion complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
- There is no longer any explicit prohibition of minor (13-17 years of age) entry to Facebook promotions. Similar to the changes above, the removal of age related guidelines still implies that the promotion administrator is running the promotion in compliance with all of the applicable age related laws and regulations wherever his promotion is running.
- Facebook has included a very clear definition of what constitutes a promotion: “a contest, competition, sweepstakes or other similar offering,” where “by ‘contest’ or ‘competition’ [Facebook means] a promotion that includes a prize of monetary value and a winner determined on the basis of skill (i.e., through judging based on specific criteria)” and “by ‘sweepstakes’ [Facebook means] a promotion that includes a prize of monetary value and a winner selected on the basis of chance.”
What has not changed for Facebook Promotions
- All promotions still need to be run within 3rd party Apps on Facebook.com, and can be run either on a Canvas page or as an app on a Page Tab.
- You may not use Facebook features or functionality as a way of entering or registering for a promotion. In other words, you cannot have users simply “Like” your page to enter into a contest— the entry process must be contained within the 3rd party app environment, and include a registration (like a form) separate of the act of “Liking” a page.
- You may not use Facebook features or functionality such as the Like button as a method of voting for a promotion. Again, because promotions must be run within 3rd party apps on Facebook, this regulation maintains that promotion elements like voting be contained in apps, and not within Facebook simply by using the “Like” button.
- You cannot use Facebook to notify winners, such as by sending them a message, chat, or wall post alerting them to their win.
Reaching out to your customers and their personal social networks is an extremely effective way for local businesses to add real value to their bottom line and can result in real sales. Clearly you should be considering Facebook promotions and contests that engage your fans without turning them off.
Dan Nedelko