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What are the rules of running a competition on Social Media?
7 June 2021
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In this blog I’ll highlight the laws and regulations that surround the running of a legal competition on social media.

Laws and Regulations

If you use social media in any form to communicate or administer a promotion you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion.

In the UK these laws are upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority. If you and your business are outside of the UK, please check the laws local to you.

You’ll probably recognise many of them from the small print you hear at the end of a giveaway promotion on the TV. These include statements of facts such as Start and End Dates and the specification of prizes as well as restrictions on the promotion of alcohol and the targeting of children. Please read through the full ASA rules here to ensure that you administer your promotion legally.

Once you have the legalities covered off, you can turn to the specific rules of each social media platform:

Instagram summary

  1. You must not inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content (example: don’t encourage people to tag themselves in photos if they aren’t in the photo).
  2. Promotions must include a complete release of Instagram

Full guidelines:

Twitter summary

  • Include a rule stating that anyone found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible.
  • Ask people to mention you in their update, so that you see all entries
  • Don’t set rules to encourage lots of duplicate updates (e.g., “whoever Retweets this the most wins”).
  • If you use a competition hashtag, ensure its relevant to the tweet.

Full Guidelines:

Examples of entry requirement for Twitter:

To Enter: Follow, Retweet

Like, RT, Follow Me

“Bonus if you tag a friend”

“Comment <something relevant to the prize> for an extra entry”

“Follow Me, Like & RT, Tag 2-3 Friends”

“Follow, RT, Comment Competition Hashtag eg #BackToWork”

“Follow me, tag two friends and RT”

Facebook Summary

Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

  • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant; and
  • Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.

So far, so familiar, right. But this is the bit that’s going to surprise most people…

“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”

So you CAN NOT ask for shares and tags as conditions of entry for your giveaway.

I know, I know, you’ve seen 1000’s of giveaways that flout that rule. (e.g. “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”

The reason for this, is that the privacy settings on Facebook mean you are not able to verify who has shared your post, and therefore you may be in breach of ASA rule 8.2

“deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants”

Asking for a share or to tag a friend as a condition of entry is breaking the ASA rules, and could land you and your business in hot water. So don’t do it!

Full Guidelines:

The information in this post was correct at the time of writing. Please check the links provided to ensure that you are abiding by the correct rules when you run your competition.

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