Social media is increasingly important for effective marketing and promotion, including the operation of contests.  Contest organizers should be aware, however, that there may be specific social media terms of use that apply to the promotion and administration of a contest using social media.

For example, Facebook’s Pages Terms include Promotions Rules.  These include the following requirements for promotions that are “communicated” or “administered” using Facebook: (i) operating the promotion lawfully, including official rules and eligibility requirements; (ii) complying with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements; and (iii) including the following: a release of Facebook by entrants and acknowledgment that the promotion is not “sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook”.

Facebook promotions must also be administered on Pages or within apps.  Using Personal Timelines is not permitted – e.g., “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”.

Facebook’s Promotions rules also change from time-to-time, so it is prudent to check Facebook’s current contest requirements before launching a Facebook-based promotion.

Other Facebook rules that can apply to contests and promotions include Facebook’s general Advertising Guidelines and its rules for the use of its name, trademarks, logos and linking to Facebook, set out in Facebook’s Brand Permissions Center.

Failing to comply with Facebook’s Pages Terms, Promotions Rules and Advertising Guidelines can have serious impacts for a contest relying on Facebook for promotion, given that Facebook has broad rights under its terms of use to reject or remove pages or stop providing all or part of Facebook.


Legislation: Competition Act, Criminal Code.

Competition Bureau: The Little Black Book of Scams: Advertisement Material.

Bureau Enforcement Guidelines: Application of the Competition Act to Representations on the Internet, Deceptive Notices of Winning a Prize – Section 53 of the Competition Act, Promotional Contests – Section 74.06 of the Competition Act, Telemarketing – Section 52.1 of the Competition Act.

Bureau Bulletins: Competition Bureau Fee and Service Standards Handbook for Written Opinions, Corporate Compliance Programs, Misleading Representations and Deceptive Marketing Practices: Choice of Criminal or Civil Track.

Bureau Pamphlets: Deceptive Prize Notices, False or Misleading Representations and Deceptive Marketing Practices, Promotional Contests, What You Should Know About Telemarketing.

Industry Codes: Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSA), CAB Code of Ethics (2002), Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children, Better Business Bureau (BBB), Code of Advertising, Canadian Marketing Association (CMA), CMA Guide to Telemarketing Regulation in Canada.


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