The Advertising Standards Board has determined that an advertiser’s Facebook site is a marketing tool over which the advertiser has a ‘reasonable degree of control’. That means brand owners must take responsibility for user posts on their social media pages, as well as their own material or content.
The matter arose as the result of an investigation into a complaint that content on the Facebook page for Victoria Bitter beer breached the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics.
VB’s Facebook page breached the code with comments that were discriminatory toward women, degrading to homosexual people, used strong and obscene language and did not treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience.
In its determination, the Board indicated that social media requires monitoring and content must be moderated within a reasonable timeframe to ensure compliance with the Code.
the Board indicated that social media requires monitoring and content must be moderated within a reasonable timeframe to ensure compliance with the Code
Although optical brands are less likely that many other brands to attract derogatory comments, it could still necessitate devoting more resources to moderating social media and websites.
Brand owners can further limit their risk by exploring features offered by their social media or web host such as the ability to block users under a specific age, blacklist particular words and flag users so their comments are only visible to themselves and their friends.