If you have a Facebook brand page, be aware; you could receive a slap on the wrist for comments deemed inappropriate on your page.
Recently, the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) decided that comments, made by fans of the Smirnoff page, are considered ‘ads’, meaning they must comply with industry codes and laws. Failure to remove comments that do not comply with industry self-regulatory codes and consumer protection laws may result in penalties for brand pages, who are considered responsible for user-generated content.
John Swinson, a media lawyer and partner at law firm King & Wood Mallesons, has warned his clients that the same standards applied to mainstream media (radio, TV and billboards) might need to be adhered to on Facebook brand pages. Offensive (i.e. Racist, sexist) or misleading content posted by page fans could see your brand in a great deal of trouble; both socially and legally. This means you, as a brand, need to be hyper vigilant in monitoring your page to ensure no one is biting into it and chewing with their mouth open in front of your other fans.
Despite the enforcement of the ASB’s regulations upon the ‘wrong’ thing, I see this issue as one big grey area. Facebook is not a one-way marketing street; the standards applicable to TV, radio and billboards are going to be an extremely difficult fit. If your community comments can now be seen as ‘ads’ and treated accordingly, what lies ahead for your brand page in terms of your strategy, content and man hours?
What is currently in place for your Facebook brand page to monitor incorrect/offensive content posted by fans?