UK to regulate Social Media Marketing

The following article is taken from the March edition of the interaction newsletter. In one of the articles, Gareth Owen wrote a piece about the regulation of social media marketing in the UK. Below is his opinion on this subject.


Brands using social networks will soon find their activities in those spaces regulated by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority, following recommendations submitted by the Advertising Association this week.

The proposed amendment to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code – expected to be in force by September – will extend the regulatory framework currently in place for paid online ads to all other online marketing communications. As a result, claims from marketers on their own Web sites and third-party sites like social networks will now be subject to ASA scrutiny, as they are in TV, print, and other forms of online advertising.

The code is designed to ensure that ads do not offend or mislead, and that they respect specific laws relating to the marketing of alcohol, gambling, auto, health, and financial products

In a statement, the ASA described the extension as a “direct and sensible response to people’s concerns about the protection of consumers and children online.” The body said nearly two thirds of the complaints it receives about online marketing currently lie outside of its remit, but that this should help “plug the regulatory gap.”

The extension of the ASA remit will of course incur additional costs, with the ASA “gearing up with additional staff and structures” in the coming months.

Sanctions for breaching the code have not yet been confirmed, but the revised codes are expected to be published this month.


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