Social media advertising comes of age, gets regulated

Social media advertising comes of age, gets regulated

It looks like advertising via social media is about to grow up. New guidelines for advertising on services like Facebook and Twitter are being proposed in the UK.

For the past couple of years, advertising via Facebook and Twitter has been a “Wild West” of experimentation where brands could do pretty much whatever they liked. We’ve seen innovative ideas like Ikea’s Facebook photo-tagging and just about every brand you can think of has started to use Twitter to varying degrees of success.

Social media marketing has had a number of ‘fail moments’ as it has grown (just think of Habitat and its ill-judged use of hashtags), so it was only a matter of time before rules were tightened up.

Under the proposals, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) would control digital marketing to ensure that it is “responsible, legal, honest and truthful”. The ASA currently oversees print, TV and radio advertising in much the same way. The proposals, first reported by The Guardian, would regulate advertising by UK companies across their websites and all social media activity.

According to Clickz, the new advertising rules are to be published this month and should be in force later this year. Details of exactly how offenders will be punished have yet to be decided.

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