3 Ways Your Illegal Fire & Security Facebook Competition Risks Getting Your Business Page Banned

I almost choked on my coffee when I noticed that one of our clients was running an illegal Facebook competition.

Sat in a noodle bar in the beautiful city of Prague, my mobile phone had just put an end to my relaxed mood.

Because the client in question had fallen foul of THREE of the ways a competition is most likely to get their Business Page suspended by Facebook.

Let me talk you through them.

Why your Fire & Security contest could get you banned from Facebook

A lot of Fire & Security companies are using their Facebook Business pages to increase the visibility of their services.

And they have been told that one of the quickest and most effective ways to get more Page likes is to run a competition.


The favourite form of competition for Fire & Security companies is a sweepstake. This is where you give something away to a lucky winner.

The advice from all the social media experts is that this should be something related to your industry. Why? Because an iPad will attract entries from all sorts of people. Not necessarily homeowners or business procurement managers who might need security protection.

So the best prize for Fire & Security companies to increase their visibility with their target audience is a free alarm system. 

But, if the update announcing your Facebook competition says:

All you need to do to be entered into our competition is:

Like our Facebook page
Share this competition post
Comment why you deserve to win

You could be risking the deletion of your Business Page AND THE LOSS OF ALL YOUR HARD WON fans.

Can you ask people to LIKE your Page to enter your competition?

Section 2 General Policies for Pages, Groups, and Events

5. Incentivization
Pages, Groups, and Events must not incentivize people to misuse Facebook features or functionality.

FAILED – if you’re telling them they can win an alarm system by liking your Page, that is incentivising the Like feature. You cannot force people to Like your page if they want to enter your sweepstake.

I want to double my Fire & Security LEADS AND SALES

Do you need to link to clear terms and conditions about your competition?

Section 3 Promotions on Pages, Groups and Events

Communicating a Promotion
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:
The official rules;
Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).

The client had done this well. Explained EXACTLY what the prize would be: a domestic intruder alarm system within a particular radius of their HQ. They also specified how many PIRs and what other equipment was included. And any other important requirements. They advised that only one entry per person was allowed and that there would be no cash alternative. Plus any other relevant information on the running of the competition. Especially when the draw for the winner would be made.

However, they had not revealed how the winner will be contacted. And this can cause a lot of problems – as I found to my cost a couple of years ago

Have you released Facebook from any involvement in your competition?

Section 3 Promotions on Pages, Groups and Events

Required Content
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.

FAILED – you need a written disclaimer to your rules saying that your promotion is completely independent of Facebook.

Can you ask users to share to win your Facebook competition?

Section 3 Promotions on Pages, Groups and Events

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” are not permitted).

FAILED – you cannot require users to share your contest on their personal timeline (or that of their friends) to win.

I want to double my Fire & Security LEADS AND SALES

Can you ask readers to ‘tag a friend’ to enter your Facebook competition?

Section 3 Promotions on Pages, Groups and Events

Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex:  “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted).

You cannot specifically make it a condition of entry, eg Tag your friend to be in with a chance of winning. BUT how about this as a suggestion. Add: ‘Don’t forget to tag your family members and friends who would love to enter.’

Can you ask visitors to comment to enter your Facebook competition?

This post reminds us that the main objective for most Facebook competitions is engagement. And that securing a comment massively increases the chances of your post appearing on the news feeds of that person’s friends.

Asking a question and making a response a requirement for entry could be the answer. A trivia question about home security or a caption competition can be great fun. Especially if people start tagging their friends to see their suggestions. So long as you have not asked anyone to tag their friends.

But be careful. There are definite issues if you try to use public comments to collect personal data that allows you to contact the winner.

4. Collection of Data on Pages, Groups, and Events

Why you should care about staying within Facebook’s competition rules

Now I know there are quite a few Fire & Security companies who are running competitions that break the rules. But just because they are getting away with it currently is not a good reason for you to run that risk.

When a company in a niche breaks the rules, it encourages copycats within that niche.

Here’s a third party view on this:

Those copycats cause a surge in visibility for the rule-breaking format, and that’s what gets accounts banned or suspended. In fact, any time you’re choosing to run a contest and are knowingly or unknowingly violating a rule, you can get your account sanctioned in some way.

You can see the full list of Facebook’s rules here

Is there an easier way to generate leads on social media?

The problem with Facebook competitions is that they can be very hit and miss.

It’s hard:

  • to get people to see the competition;
  • to get people to enter the competition; 
  • to alert people that they have won the competition; and WORST OF ALL
  • it’s hard for YOU to measure whether this investment actually results in more Fire & Security enquiries.

Because MORE LEADS has got to be the ultimate objective for any marketing investment.


There is an easier way to get
The Right Message in front of
The Right Person at
The Right Time

Click the link to answer a few questions so we can see how best Lollipop can help. And then book your call.

I want to double my Fire & Security LEADS AND SALES