Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > The Web/Virtual Worlds/Social Networking

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Platform-Specific Guidelines

In addition to structuring sweepstakes and contests so as to comply with federal and state law, companies must take care that their promotions also comply with the terms and conditions of social media networking sites, particularly site rules regulating consumer sweepstakes and contests.


LinkedIn prohibits its users from uploading, posting, emailing, or making available any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising or promotional materials.12


Google+ prohibits online promotions directly from a Google+ page, but allows users to “display a link on your Google+ Page to a separate site where your Promotion is hosted so long as you (and not Google) are solely responsible for your Promotion and for compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations in the jurisdiction(s) where your Promotion is offered or promoted.”13


In contrast to the prohibitive policies of Google+ and LinkedIn, Twitter specifically authorizes users to conduct promotions on its platform. In fact, Twitter’s Guidelines for Contests on Twitter (which, despite its name, applies to both contests and sweepstakes) appears to encourage promotions provided that the Twitter user experience is not compromised. For example, Twitter requires contest promoters to disqualify any user who enters a contest from multiple accounts; encourages entrants to include an “@reply to you” in their update so that all the entries are seen; and discourages multiple entries from the same participant on the same day, presumably to discourage posting of the same Tweet repeatedly (à la “whoever re-Tweets the most wins” variety).14


On November 4, 2009, Facebook issued new Promotions Guidelines that contain specific rules for administering sweepstakes and contests on its website. These guidelines were again most recently revised on May 11, 2011. Under this revision of the guidelines, administering a promotion on Facebook means “the operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.”15

As of the date of publication, promotions are subject to the following guidelines:

  • Must use the Facebook platform app—Facebook requires that all promotions on its site be administered via a third-party Facebook platform application, within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a canvas page (that is, a blank page within Facebook on which to load and run an app) or an app on a page tab. If you do not want to use an app to run your promotion, you should consider running it on your own website or blog, and simply have contest participants like your Facebook page as a part of that contest.
  • Use the allowed functions—Facebook now allows only three site functions to be used as a condition of contest registration or entry:
    • Liking a page
    • Checking into a place
    • Connecting to your app

    Figure 1.1 SAS's "Up For Grabs" Promotion.

  • May not be used for a promotion’s registration or voting methods—Facebook features and functionalities cannot be used as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism, nor as a promotion’s voting mechanism. For example, the act of liking a page or checking in to a place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant. So, no more “Just like our page, and you’ll be automatically entered to win!” If you want to do a promotion for people who liked your page, you need the app you use to offer a way to enter, such as through providing an email address. Accordingly, although companies can condition competition entry on liking a page, the like functionality cannot be used as the actual method of entry itself. The action of becoming a fan can never alone equal an automatic entry into the contest or sweepstakes. Rather, after having liked your page, entrants must be directed toward a separate registration process administered through a third-party app on a separate canvas page (now a link, formerly a tab).
  • Figure 1.2 Contiki Vacations' "Get on the Bus" Promotion.

  • Facebook features may not be used to notify winners—Companies are not allowed to use any Facebook features to notify winners, such as through Facebook messages, chats, or posts. Companies should establish alternate means of communication with all participants (such as email) to notify winners.
  • Must make proper disclosures—The guidelines also require that the official rules for a promotion administered on Facebook include specific disclosures, including an acknowledgment that the promotion is not associated with or sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook, a provision releasing the social networking site from liability from each participant; and notice that information submitted by participants is being disclosed to the contest promoter, and not Facebook.
  • Do not use Facebook’s intellectual property—Companies are not permitted to use Facebook’s name, logos, and so on in their promotions, other than to fulfill the required nonaffiliation disclosure.

Many companies appear to be ignoring Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines, but it is only a matter of time before more and more Facebook accounts of both small businesses and major brands are suspended (or disabled) due to noncompliance.

This chapter provides only a preliminary overview of the potential legal pitfalls facing companies which operate promotions through social media channels. Further, there are a variety of other statutes covering special types of promotions which were not addressed in this chapter, including: in-pack/on-pack promotions; bottle cap sweeps; preselected winners; everybody wins; retail promotions; promotions aimed at children; Internet and mobile promotions; direct mail promotions; and telemarketing promotions. Social media campaigns conducted in conjunction with these promotional techniques should be exercised with an extra degree of caution.

As the popularity of social media sweepstakes and contests continues to grow, the laws regulating this space will surely follow. It will probably be a few more years before we have a comprehensive statement of the law governing these issues—but even then, the rapid pace of technological advance makes obtaining a definitive set of laws almost impossible. Careful promotional planning, structuring, and oversight are the best means of running successful and legally compliant social media promotions. To that end, companies should heed best practices for social media promotions as summarized in Figure 1.3.

Figure 1.3 (Click to enlarge) Social Media Legal Tips for Contests and Sweepstakes.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020