Advertising Association confirm regulation changes may be in place by end of year

Online advertising regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will take on the regulation of companies’ social marketing page content by the end of this year, according to advertising industry proposals.

Two thirds complaints about SM (Social Media)

The ASA intends that the move will plug a regulatory gap that’s resulted in two thirds of the complaints it receives relates to activity over which it has no authority.

Industry body the Advertising Association has recommended the ASA regulate companies’ activity on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) Code is the basis of the ASA’s regulation and have welcomed the proposal.

In a statement the AA (Advertising Association) said, “This landmark move for advertising self-regulation seeks to address societal concerns and will increase protection for consumers and children. The recommendations, if accepted, will bring companies’ marketing communications on their own websites, and other non-paid for space online, such as brand activity on social networking sites, within scope of the CAP Code.”

“Currently, the ASA’s online remit covers paid-for marketing communications such as pop-up and banner ads, paid-search and viral ads. However, nearly two thirds of the complaints that we receive about online marketing activity are not presently covered by the Code. The proposed extension of our remit will plug this regulatory gap, ensuring that consumers enjoy the same level of protection on websites as they do in paid-for space.”

An ASA spokesperson stated, “We know from our active monitoring work that where the Code applies, there is very high compliance with the rules and ASA decisions. This … is another example of the self-regulatory system responding to social and technological changes.” “

This is a direct and sensible response to people’s concerns about the protection of consumers and children online,” said ASA chairman Lord Smith of Finsbury.

Proposals extend ASA’s existing regulatory control

The Advertising Standards Authority at present regulates adverts on websites along with other forms of paid-for marketing. These include viral ads, games which act as adverts, paid-for search listings together with spots on price comparison services, and ads in online games.

The proposals will extend their control to cover the overall content of companies’ social networking sites, material organizations usually control and host themselves rather than pay other agencies to publish.

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