Last week we had reported that Smirnoff’s Facebook page had come to the attention of the Advertising Standards Board. The ASB had ruled that the comments made by the page’s fans were to be treated as ads, and thus needed to comply with the industry’s self-regulatory codes and consumer protection laws.
Of course, this means that non-compliance would undoubtedly result in costly penalties.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have now stated that they expect larger brands with a Facebook presence to be monitoring their pages constantly, and any ‘offending’ material – user’s particular comments – must be taken down within ‘perhaps 24 hours or less’.
Similar in concept to trademark laws, a company that has been benefiting from false or misleading comments on their page while ignoring said comments will also be receiving apt penalties.
This further development again makes us question the grey area that is Facebook and even social media as a whole as an advertising channel.
Furthermore it also hints at a situation we seem to be progressing towards daily; that of the government’s ability to place restrictions on the web, and the loss of ‘freedom’ of the internet as a whole.
In any case, congratulations to all of the new community managers that will soon be finding employment. On the other hand, lets hope that this doesn’t do much to impede social’s relatively newfound acceptance as a brilliant and dynamic marketing tool.
What are your thoughts on the ruling? Do you think this will effect business’ enthusiasm for social media? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!