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Facebook Bans Sweepstakes for Guns, Gasoline, Drugs…and Cheese

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you cannot win the cheese on this shirt on Facebook.

What do milk, cigarettes, underage girls, Belgium, and lengthy tasks have in common? They're all verboten in Facebook contests.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is publicizing this outstanding list of official prohibitions in Facebook's new promotions guidelines:

Section 2. Prohibitions

You may not publicize or administer a promotion on Facebook if:

2.1 The promotion is open or marketed to individuals who are under the age of 18;

2.2 The promotion is open to individuals who reside in a country embargoed by the United States;

2.3 The promotion, if a sweepstakes, is open to individuals residing in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India;

2.4 The promotion's objective is to promote any of the following product categories: gambling, tobacco, dairy, firearms, prescription drugs, or gasoline;

2.5 The prize or any part of the prize includes alcohol, tobacco, dairy, firearms, or prescription drugs; or

2.6 The promotion is a sweepstakes that conditions entry upon the purchase of a product, completion of a lengthy task, or other form of consideration.

Before CCF cottoned on, only one other site which seems to have noticed the ban: Green living site Taste Better, which put up a post a month ago titled "Facebook goes (kind of) dairy free":

Facebook has updated their rules about what marketers can promote on the site, along with how they can do it. Wanna know what can't be promoted? Product categories including gambling, tobacco, firearms, prescription drugs, or gasoline. Oh, and dairy. Oh, and if the prizes from your campaign include, wait for it, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, prescription drugs or… dairy.

Now, I don't think this means that everything on Facebook has to be dairy free (for instance, I'd guess that milk chocolate would be allowed but cheese wouldn't) but hey, I could be wrong, and in any case, suck it, dairy board!

I assume the addition of dairy to the list has little to do with an anti-brie bias, and more to do with (ridiculous) restrictions about shipping dairy across state or national borders. But the catalog of banned items strongly resembles my grocery list (alcohol, tobacco, dairy, firearms, prescription drugs, peanut butter), so I'm sad to see it sitting there under the word "Prohibitions"—no matter what the reason.

UPDATE: From the fine folks at Facebook:

"We're all big fans of strong bones at Facebook and we will soon revise our promotions guidelines to lift the complete ban on dairy and simply prohibit giving dairy away as a prize. The rules, which govern the publicizing or administering of sweepstakes, contests, competitions or similar offerings on our platform, initially banned dairy promotions due to individual state laws that impose penalties for distributing dairy at a discounted rate.  We're sorry for the confusion."