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Facebook Restricts Authors’ Ability To Host Contests

facebooklogo.jpgAuthors, publishers and blogs like GalleyCat have used Facebook as a tool for hosting contests for years. But it looks like the party is over.

Facebook updated its strict contest guidelines this week, stating that all contests must be hosted on a Canvas Page or Page Tab created inside Apps on Facebook. Contests must include a “release of Facebook” for every participant as well.

Along with that change, Facebook has placed a long list of restrictions on how contests are staged on the social network. We’ve included the complete list below, but here is the most dramatic change: “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.”

Author Ashley March explored the implications of these restrictions in a long post. Facebook also wrote: “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.”

These three items concluded the new restrictions:

“You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.”

“You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles or Pages.”

“You may not use Facebook’s name, trademarks, trade names, copyrights, or any other intellectual property in connection with a promotion or mention Facebook in the rules or materials relating to the promotion.”

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