Beware of Contests on Facebook

Posted By Debbie on April 16, 2013

Contests run through Facebook. Oy. What a mess of mostly scams.

First of all, most (but not all) pages that enter you for some sort of prize (usually an iPad) if you LIKE their page are scams. Most but not all. How or why? What happens is they get zillions of people to like the page. You don’t even know what page it is. What company is it? What do they do? You don’t even know. You so wanted to win the free iPad that you just hit LIKE.

Two things then happen because you did this. One, this company (whoever the heck they are, wherever the heck they are) now have access to your contact info. They can also reach your friends through the web Facebook weaves between people and what they like. Two, the people who built that page normally then sells it to someone else. All of a sudden, you are liking (and getting marketing messages) for a clothing store or who knows what. Some company bought the page to have all those instant likes and people they can market to, and hey, you opted in.

Just remember you are the commodity for sale or rent on Facebook.

This is actually against Facebook’s rules

A friend on FB recently reminded people of the rules of contests and promotions on Facebook. Primarily, Facebook wants all contests and promos run through apps and not pages. Let’s learn more! Click to enlarge this screen shot from

ScreenHunter_03 Apr. 07 14.04

Check out section 4. The act of liking a page cannot be what enters someone into a content or promo. The like button can’t be the voting mechanism for a promo. Checking into a place isn’t how you enter a contest either.

Facebook wants everybody to go through apps. The down side is that if the same scammers start building Facebook apps for their completely/slightly fake contests, agreeing to use an app can actually give them MORE control over your account and info. If you like a page, you like a page, and maybe you and your friends see crap from that page. If you give an app the rights it wants, you may have just given your email address (which they might keep after you turn off the app), the right to post to your wall without you knowing, the right to grab your friends’ info… it’s a bad spiral down.

The best thing to do is to play it safe. Read full rules of contests to find out how they will use your info or access to your Facebook account. If you’re not going to read the rules, don’t enter. I don’t need you giving up MY Facebook details to some scam company because you hoped to win a lame prize worth a few hundred dollars. If you wouldn’t enter every contest that came through the postal mail, called you on the phone, or showed up in your email, why enter random contests and promos on Facebook? Remember your common sense.

My privacy is worth more than your 0.0001% chance of winning an iPad. So is yours. Just say no.