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I researched the legal side of running a Facebook competition. Your FB sweepstake could be in breach, read these resources to make sure you do it right.

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'Like & Win' is a popular Facebook competition to attract followers. If you want to run one, read the resources below to ensure you do it right.

‘Like & Win’ is a popular Facebook competition to attract followers. If you want to run one, read the resources below to ensure you do it right.

Everyone’s on Facebook and everyone knows running a competition attracts attention.

However, there are legal implications that many Facebook users are not aware of.

This can potentially cost you your carefully crafted Facebook page, as Facebook can – without any warning – shut you down, if you’re in breach of their Terms & Conditions.

So I researched how to run a Facebook competition. As I see many prize draws on Facebook are in breach, I urge you to read these resources to make sure you do it right:

 

-Overview-

I. South African Law

  1. South African Consumer Protection Act – most relevant sections from the original
  2. Consumer Protection Guide for Lawyers – a summary of the rules by the Law Society of South Africa
  3. Consumer Protection Act June 2010 – a summary on promotional competitions by BDO

II. Facebook Law

  1. Facebook Pages Terms – restrictions of competitions on their platform
  2. New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know – insider tip by Social Media Examiner
  3. How to Run a Competition on Your Facebook Business Page – a handy overview by Hallam Internet
  4. How to run a (legal) Facebook competition – a sample for release of liability by Blaze Digital

 

-Detail-

I. South African Law

 

1. South African Consumer Protection Act:

Promotional competitions, Section 36.

(3) The promoter of a promotional competition—

  • must not require any consideration to be paid by or on behalf of any participant in the promotional competition, other than the reasonable costs of posting or otherwise transmitting an entry form or device;
  • must not award a prize in a competition to—
  • a winner of the competition if it is unlawful to supply those goods or services to that prize winner, but this subparagraph does not preclude awarding a prize to a person merely because that person’s right to possess or use the prize is or may be restricted or regulated by, or is otherwise subject to, any public regulation; or
  • any person who is—

(aa) a director, member, partner, employee or agent of, or consultant to the promoter or any other person who directly or indirectly controls or is controlled by, the promoter; or

(bb) a supplier of goods or services in connection with that competition;

and

  • must—
  • prepare competition rules before the beginning of the competition;
  • make the competition rules available to the Commission and to any participant, on request and without cost; and
  • retain a copy of the competition rules for the prescribed period after the end of the competition.

(5) An offer to participate in a promotional competition must clearly state—

  • the benefit or competition to which the offer relates;
  • the steps required by a person to accept the offer or to participate in the competition;
  • the basis on which the results of the competition will be determined;
  • the closing date for the competition;
  • the medium through or by which the results of the competition will be made known; and
  • any person from whom, any place where, and any date and time on or at which—
  • a person may obtain a copy of the competition rules; and
  • a successful participant may receive any prize.

(6) The requirements of subsection (5) may be satisfied either—

  • directly on any medium through which a person participates in a promotional competition;
  • on a document accompanying any medium contemplated in paragraph (a); or
  • in any advertisement that—
  • is published during the time and throughout the area in which the promotional competition is conducted; and
  • draws attention to and is clearly associated with the promotional competition.

(7) The right to participate in a promotional competition is fully vested in a person immediately upon—

  • complying with any conditions that are required to earn that right; and
  • acquiring possession or control of the medium, if any, through which a person may participate in that promotional competition.

(8) The right to any benefit or right conferred on a person as a result of that person’s participation in a promotional competition is fully vested immediately upon the determination of the results of the competition.

(9) A right contemplated in subsection (7) or (8) must not be—

  • made subject to any further condition; or
  • contingent upon a person—
  • paying any consideration to the promoter for the prize; or
  • satisfying any further requirements other than those stipulated in terms of subsection (5).

(11) The Minister may prescribe—

  • a monetary threshold for the purpose of excluding competitions with low value prizes from the definition of ‘‘promotional competition’’;
  • minimum standards and forms for keeping records associated with promotional competitions; and
  • audit and reporting requirements in respect of promotional competitions

 

2. Consumer Protection Guide for Lawyers

Page 59: Any document disclosing a promotional offer must clearly state the following:

  • The nature of the prize, reward, gift, free good or service, price reduction or
  • concession, enhancement if quantity or quality of goods or services;
  • The goods or services to which the offer relates;
  • What the prospective consumer must do in order to accept the promotional offer;
  • The details of the person from whom or the place where the consumer may receive
  • the benefit advertised in the promotional offer.

Page 63: An offer to participate in a promotional competition must be in writing and must state:

  • Benefit of the competition
  • Steps to take in order to participate in the competition
  • Basis upon which the results of the competition will be determined
  • The maximum number of potential participants and the odds of winning the competition
  • How participants will be informed of the results
  • How, when and where the successful participant may collect the prize

 

3. Consumer Protection Act June 2010

Page 9: Promotional competitions

Promotional competition means any competition, game, scheme, arrangement, system, plan or device for distributing prizes by lot or chance if the competition is conducted in the ordinary course of business for the purpose of promoting a producer, distributor, supplier or the sale of any goods or services.

The promoter of a promotional competition must not require any consideration to be paid by a participant other than reasonable costs of posting or otherwise transmitting an entry form or device. The promoter must also not award a prize if it is unlawful to supply those goods or services to that prize winner but does not preclude awarding a prize to a person because that person’s right to possess or use the prize might be regulated or restricted. Rules for the competition must be prepared before the competition commences and those rules must be available on request without cost. Any person who is a director, member, partner, employee, agent or consultant of the promoter or a supplier of the goods or services in connection with that competition may not participate in the competition.

 

II. Facebook Law

 

1. Facebook restrictions of competitions on their platform

E. Promotions

  1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
    a. The official rules;
    b. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
    c. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)
  2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
    a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
    b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections 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”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).
  1. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

For more info read what Facebook Page administrators need to know and Facebook Promotion Guidelines.

 

2. New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know

Note that you can “encourage” people to share your post or contest, but you can’t require it for entry.

 

3. How to Run a Competition on Your Facebook Business Page

According to Facebook’s own post, the updates rules mean that:

You can:

Ask people to LIKE a post to enter

Ask people to COMMENT on a post to enter

Ask people to PRIVATE MESSAGE the page to enter

Ask people to POST on YOUR page to enter

You cannot:

Ask people to SHARE to enter

Ask people to INVITE to enter

Ask people to TAG themselves in content they are not depicted in to enter

These are the basic rules to abide by – but as is to be expected from Facebook there are some more terms and conditions you need to know about.

 

4. How to run a (legal) Facebook competition

Facebook requires a complete release of liability by each entrant. – Sample copy:

By entering and participating, entrant agrees to hold harmless, defend and indemnify Facebook from and against any and all claims, demands, liability, damages or causes of action (however named or described), losses, costs or expenses, with respect to or arising out of or related to (i) entrant’s participation in the Sweepstake, or (ii) entrant’s participation in any Prize related activities, acceptance of a Prize and/or use or misuse of a Prize (including, without limitation, any property loss, damage, personal injury or death caused to any person(s).

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

 

Written on 24/02/2015.

Validated on 05/11/2015.

Please double check for latest updates, as Social Media are constantly changing.

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