'Share to enter' against Facebook terms, conflicts with privacy settings

    4:26 PM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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    There's a trend among small businesses right now to offer giveaways to Facebook fans by asking them to "share the post" in order to enter the drawing. The trend, however, is against the social platform's guidelines, and could even conflict with users' privacy settings.

    There's a snippet of Facebook's Pages Terms that reads, "Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines 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" is not permitted)."

    See terms: http://on.kthv.com/1aNdyoN

    Broken down, this simply means that it is against guidelines for a page to tell a fan that if they share the post on their timeline or on a friend's timeline, they'll be entered into a contest, sweepstakes, or some other kind of promotion.

    It is permitted, however, if a page uses a third party app, like Woobox or Apitvada, to allow users to share the offer after they enter it, with a particular link to a contest or sweepstakes administered elsewhere. For instance, many promotions end with a box like this one:

    (Image: Woobox.com)

    Even if "sharing to be entered" was permitted, it's still a somewhat flawed method of gathering entrants.  Besides seeing a blanket number of how many people share a certain post, page admins are only able to see who shared the offer if (a.) the page admin is Facebook friends with the fan who shared the offer, and/or (b.) the fan has their post privacy set to "public."

    (Image: Facebook.com)

    To change your post privacy on Facebook's mobile app, you tap "write post" after selecting "share."  It then gives you the option to change the audience.

    Because Facebook doesn't allow personal timelines to administer promotions, there are still other methods, such as liking and commenting to enter, and using third-party apps. 

    For years, the only permitted way to administer a Facebook contest, sweepstakes, or other offer was to use third-parties, so when the changes to Facebook's promotions terms were announced in late 2013, many rejoiced, especially for small or micro businesses, looking to administer offers without going through third-party apps.

    Jim Belosic, CEO of ShortStack said, "I think this is great for small businesses because they can now quickly get engagement from their fans, no hoops to jump through." (http://on.kthv.com/1bl50lU)

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