Don’t Get Your Page on Facebook Deleted!

“Like” this post for a chance to win!

The first 10 people to comment on this post win a $50 gift card to the school bookstore!

Upload a photo of yourself to our Facebook Timeline and you could win!

If you’re a Facebook user, you’ve certainly seen promotions such as the ones above and below pop up on your news feed. They’re easy to enter and also an easy way for schools, brands, and companies to engage their fans.

Unfortunately, these types of promotions violate Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines, which could result in permanent deletion of your page on Facebook. Facebook clearly states in its Promotions Guidelines, “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.”

According to Facebook, a promotion is any contest, competition, sweepstakes, or other similar offering. In other words, if you’re picking a winner, you’re running a promotion and must follow the rules. This is not to say you can’t run a promotion, because you can! Facebook doesn’t want to be connected in anyway to the promotion you’re running, which needs to be clear.

Somewhere in your promotion you have to include:

• A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant

• Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administrated by, or associated with Facebook

• Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook

Where you can run a promotion on Facebook:

Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines state that, “Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.” What this means is you CANNOT run your promotion on your page’s Timeline! You can post about your promotion on your Timeline, but the way in which a participant enters, registers, or votes CANNOT be by a Facebook action (i.e. “liking” a post or comment, commenting on a post or photo, uploading a photo to your page’s Timeline, etc.).

University of Phoenix - Facebook Promotions Guidelines Violation

This contest clearly violates Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines by asking fans of the page to vote for their favorite photos by “liking” them.


How you can’t contact the winner:

After selecting the winner of your contest, you CANNOT notify them via Facebook. This includes Facebook messages, chat, or posts on both your page or the user’s Timeline. It’s important that your entry form includes fields such as phone number or email so that you can contact the winner using other means of communication.

Choosing a winner:

In your Official Rules for the promotion you’re running, you should clearly state how the winner will be selected after they knowingly enter your page’s contest, without the use of a Facebook action. You’ll continue to see some schools, brands, and companies randomly selecting a fan and awarding them a prize, but that’s against the rules! One of the guidelines clearly states, “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.”

Why we’re big on following Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines:

We see schools, brands, and companies breaking the rules on a daily basis. We also hear, “Facebook will never find out!” a lot, too. And maybe they won’t… but is it worth the risk of losing the entire online community full of students, graduates, and prospects you’ve spent a few years building, over running a promotion the wrong way? Facebook isn’t taking your rights away to run a promotion, they’re simply putting rules into place on how you can run them. In our perspective here at Effective Student Marketing, we don’t think it’s worth the risk of having your page on Facebook deleted. What do you think?

Facebook Promotions Guidelines Violations

This promotion clearly violates Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines because it’s having people post to their wall and then asking users to vote by “liking” a post.



  • July 9, 2012

    What effective uses of Facebook promotion have you seen campuses/organizations utilize that do not violate FB terms of service?

    • Lauren B.
      July 9, 2012

      Hi Brian, Thanks for reading! Effective Student Marketing has a lot of experience in running successful contests for the schools we work with, so I can certainly answer that for you. Most of the promotions you see on Facebook that don’t follow Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines are great ideas, but the problem is typically the way the promotion is executed.

      Let’s look at the “promotion” that the University of Phoenix’s Alumni Association ran (please see screenshot in blog post). Users were asked to upload a photo of their family pet to the Alumni Association’s Facebook Timeline. Users were then asked to vote by “liking” their favorite photo. Whoever had the most “likes” on their photo would win. The idea of this promotion is great, but the way it was executed broke every single rule in the Promotions Guidelines. The University of Phoenix’s Alumni Association could have followed Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines by building an application for contestants to submit their photos and allowing for users to vote for their favorite photo through the application. Be sure to check out the guidelines to make sure the promotion you’re running follows every aspect:


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