ACCC backs ASB's Facebook ruling

By By Wenlei Ma | 13 August 2012

The consumer and competition watchdog confirmed it will use its legislative powers to pursue any brands who don't take down false user-generated claims on Facebook.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it views any false or misleading comments on a brand's social media page, including Facebook, as part of its marketing communications, regardless of whether it's user-generated or brand-generated.

The ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said: “If you become aware that a member of the public [has written something inaccurate], you have a responsibility to correct the impression.”

Court added large, well-resourced companies should conceivably take down misleading comments within 24 hours but smaller businesses should act as soon as they become aware.

Court said the ACCC will pursue false claims on Facebook and social media in the same manner as in other mediums, when a member of the public makes a complaint to the organisation.

The ACCC has previously acted against Allergy Pathways which was fined $7,500 for misleading and false 'user testimonials' on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

The ACCC's positions supports that of the Advertising Standards Bureau who last week ruled a brand's social media pages are considered to be a marketing tool with all content, including user-generated, subject to the AANA Code of Ethics.

However, unlike the ASB, the ACCC has legislative powers to pursue offenders in the courts, who may face monetary penalties.

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Have something to say? Send us your comments using the form below or contact the writer at wenleima@yaffa.com.au

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus