Social media for companies is now a minefield

By Travis Schultz

A ruling by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has found that the same strict rules that apply to corporate advertising, also apply to corporate social media pages, meaning that companies now have a responsibility to carefully monitor the content of their social media sites to comply with all advertising regulations.  The rulings mean that businesses that use social media as part of their marketing strategy, will need to be diligent to ensure that any comments posted by clients, customers or the general public not only comply with advertising standards relating to obscene language, discrimination and false or misleading statements, but also with any industry specific advertising restrictions.

The recent ASB ruling was specifically in relation to Carlton and United’s VB Facebook page, where consumers of their Smirnoff products had posted comments which were found to amount to advertising, but will apply to any other similar business Facebook page.

You can imagine the difficulty for large industry bodies who have enormous followings or “fans” on Facebook.  How does a company with millions of fans who post tens of thousands of comments a week manage content in a timely way?  With the rise in popularity of social media, it is an area in which small business will need to be diligent in developing policies to manage any postings by customers or the public, or otherwise risk finding themselves in hot water with the regulatory authorities.

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