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Is Today Tonight Breaking Facebook Competition Guidelines?


Is the TV show Today Tonight breaking Facebook terms and conditions by running a competition requiring fans to like the Today Tonight Facebook page? 

You can’t run a competition on Facebook, on your wall, by asking fans to like your page. You just can’t. And yet, Today Tonight is running a competition where the first requirement is to “like” Today Tonight on Facebook.

Facebook Page Competition Guidelines T&Cs

I seem to be always telling random strangers on company Pages that they can’t run a competition to “like” them on Facebook or to “tag” a photo. They don’t believe me. I think they just think I’m being a smarty pants or something.  Here’s the proof:

Date of Last Revision: May 11, 2011

These Promotion Guidelines, along with the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, the Ad Guidelines, the Platform Policies and all other applicable Facebook policies, govern yourcommunication about or administration of any contest, competition, sweepstakes or other similar offering (each, a promotion) using Facebook.
If you use Facebook to communicate about or administer a promotion, 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.
  1. Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or an app on a Page Tab.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
  6. You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
  7. Ads may not imply a Facebook endorsement or partnership of any kind. Ads linking to Facebook branded content (including Pages, groups, events, or Connect sites) may make limited reference to “Facebook” in ad text for the purpose of (1) fulfilling your obligations under Section 2 and (2) clarifying the destination of the ad. All other ads and landing pages may not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Book, and Wall) or any confusingly similar marks, except as expressly permitted by our Brand Usage Guidelines or with our prior written permission
  8. Definitions:
    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.
    c. By “contest” or “competition” we mean 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).
    d. By “sweepstakes” we mean a promotion that includes a prize of monetary value and a winner selected on the basis of chance.

They are the core principles. The rest are on the other guideline pages.

Today Tonight Competition

So my question? Does Today Tonight, Australian prime time TV viewing break Facebook’s rules on their Yahoo! 7 website?

First, “LIKE” Today Tonight on Facebook to enter…. hmmm.

I have often thought that just having all the details on the “hub” (branded site) and then tell the “spokes” (Facebook etc) of the competition was the best way to go but thought it was a bit sneaky. In this case, while the request to “like” Today Tonight is done off the Facebook page, there is no App Tab for the competition, no “complete release” and yes, Facebook clearly defines “administration”. Yet, again, the competition takes place on the TodayTonight website, not Facebook and the requirement to like the Facebook page takes place there, not on Facebook ads. What say you, O Blogosphere? Breaking T&Cs or not?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

39 thoughts on “Is Today Tonight Breaking Facebook Competition Guidelines?

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  5. As I understand, Today Tonight is not breaching Facebook’s T&Cs.
    The act of liking the page does not automatically register or enter an applicant, the person must also upload a video on the competition site. This is consistent with the requirements of clause 3 of the T&Cs.
    Clause 4 provides that a person may use the Facebook function of liking a page (or checking in to a place or connecting with your app) as a condition of entry.
    Further, the step of the competition to like the page is not a voting mechanism, and so the competition complies with clause 5.
    I may be wrong, but considering how many companies use liking the page as a condition of entry (but not the only step) that seems consistent with my understanding.
    -Sam.

    1. Your interpretation is correct. I added my comments below as well… I do not represent Facebook but my company Strutta is a Facebook Preferred Developer Consultant specializing in promotional marketing and this does not appear to violate the guidelines. Policies prohibits using a Like as an automatic entry mechanism, but conditioning entry upon a Like along with other requirements such as completing a form or uploading content is permissible. If the promotion is administered on Facebook an app must be used but in this case they are administering it on their site.

      1. Thank you Ben & everyone. What was actually said on telly was “Like our Facebook Page & you could win…” which set my alarm bells ringing. I’m not sure Facebook can do anything about unclear entry rules – implying that’s all you have to do, but then asking for a video on the site.
        FYI I completely missed the part about a video submission until I checked out the website – pretty sure it wasnt mentioned on the brief telly intro. Ah well. At least the discussion got some people – incl me- thinking more about protecting clients.

        For Ed: personal profiles cannot do promotional or advertorial status updates (will be deleted), cannot have Facebook Ads, cannot have more than 5,000 friends, dont have analytics … The list goes on.

  6. Can you please not post tweets as comments, I was coming here expecting 9 thoughtful comments on the subject and I was lucky to see the one above. If someone is as unwitting as me they’ll be expecting to find 10…

    1. Yes good point. The comment stream is just a repetition of retweets which is noise and difficult to pick out the actual contrinuting ones.I unchecking the “notify me of follow up comments” in case I get bombarded with retweet notifications but then I wont know if something worthy has been replied. I dont think its been thought out.

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  11. I agree with Sam – as far as I can see you can state that ‘liking’ the page as a condition of entry as long as it is not the entry mechanic.

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  13. I think the problem is there is some ambiguity on the Facebook TandCs. It’s amazing how many people break them.
    A winery’s social media consultant recently replied to me on their use of a Facebook personal profile saying that they are keeping it as company pages don’t have enough functionality.

    They risk a takedown but is there a record of Facebook ever actually doing it? I vere to the conservative side but am interested to hear comments.

  14. Now, whenever I think of a photographer, I think of Catherine. One note with competitions – be sure to work in with the guidelines that the different platforms outline.

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  17. I do not represent Facebook but my company Strutta is a Facebook Preferred Developer Consultant specializing in promotional marketing and this does not appear to violate the guidelines. As Sam commented above, the rule prohibits using a Like as an automatic entry mechanism. But conditioning entry upon a Like along with other requirements such as completing a form or uploading content is permissible. If the promotion is administered on Facebook an app must be used but in this case they are administering it on their site. The FB guidelines can be confusing for sure but I hope this helps clarify.

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  20. Hi Laurel – I do think it is a bit dodgy. The funny thing though is the number of brands that are clearly breaking the Facebook contest codes but Facebook seem to be letting it slip. Here’s a classic example of a LIKE and SHARE campaign that has hundreds of poor saps believing they could win $500 worth of free grub… https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=359916217447524&set=a.116589795113502.16214.112337842205364&type=1&theater and although reported, is still telling users they will be picked at random and alerted on the timeline. Who are the Facebook police protecting folks from getting duped. How could this company in your opinion objectively select a winner? Would love to get your $.o2 worth…

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