Mobile App Sweepstakes and Social Media – A Legal Perspective

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October 19, 2017

Mobile App Sweepstakes Legal Issues.

Mobile App Sweepstakes Are an Effective Tool for Business Owners

Businesses are increasingly looking to harness two of the most dynamic means of consumer interaction, mobile applications (or “apps”) and social media, in connection with marketing sweepstakes and other promotional offerings to existing and prospective customers.  In conjunction with this trend, there has been a proliferation of mobile apps designed specifically to assist business owners with social media-based sweepstakes offerings.

However, while the combination of mobile apps, sweepstakes and social media venues provides business owners with a virtual marketing dream team, it is important to be aware of the fact that there are numerous legal regulations and social media network rules that apply to each separately, and when these venues/methods are used in tandem. Given the numerous intersecting rules that apply to mobile apps, sweepstakes and social media venues, it is essential that business owners retain attorneys who have experience in each of these areas prior to undertaking a promotional campaign.

What Laws Apply to Mobile App Sweepstakes Involving Social Media Venues? 

While certain mobile app platforms may provide assistance to business owners in connection with mobile app-based sweepstakes, there is no guarantee that such platforms will be able to help business owners navigate the complex network of laws and social media venue rules.  For example, as previously discussed on this blog, certain legal restrictions apply to the use of consumer endorsements and testimonials in connection with a contest’s entry/prize awarding functionality.  Similarly, the use of social media for promotion-targeted “likes,” “mentions,” “follows” and other social media-related actions may run afoul of those legal restrictions.

Bear in mind that social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, also impose their own rules with respect to the use of sweepstakes-related “likes,” “mentions” and “follows.”  Last, but not least, it is important to remember that all laws, rules and regulations that apply to sweepstakes and promotions, generally, are also applicable to mobile app-based sweepstakes. For example, if the method for entering the social media-based mobile app sweepstakes is too onerous, such as requiring that an extensive list of social media-based actions be taken, a free and easy alternative means of entry must be offered in order to remain in compliance with applicable sweepstakes laws.

Retain Attorneys Familiar with Mobile Apps, Sweepstakes and Social Media Laws

In summary, there are various laws that apply separately to mobile apps, sweepstakes and social media, as well as unique legal issues that arise when mobile apps, sweepstakes and social media are used in some combination.  Due to the complex interplay of state and federal laws, rules and regulations, and the considerable risks to businesses that do not comply with same, it is essential that business owners obtain the advice and counsel of qualified attorneys when commencing any sweepstakes or contest.

Please note that this is only a brief overview of some of the legal issues involved in running a sweepstakes and other promotional contest on social media venues by and through a mobile app.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or require assistance in connection with your mobile app and/or social media-related sweepstakes and promotional campaigns, please e-mail us at, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.  Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

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David O. Klein

David O. Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the telemarketing, technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

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