As of today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has the power to monitor companies’ website content in a similar way to ‘paid for’ advertising. What’s more, you may think twice about what you post on the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn, as they too could be placed under the microscope.
So, is this an invasion of our rights to freely promote ourselves and our businesses, or is the ASA acting as a result of complaints from people who don’t understand how websites and social media platforms work?
According to the BBC, the ASA has received more than 4,500 complaints since 2008 about the way text has been worded on websites, leading to tightened monitoring. However, when you think many of these could have been from ‘busybodies’ who have nothing better to do than pick fault at the tiniest of details, you have to worry!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure many observations are perfectly justified, but without wanting to sound like I’m stereotyping – the kind of people who complain are often those who don’t have a clue about modern communications, which is why it seems ludicrous that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn could fall foul of meddling individuals’ misinformed actions.
Quite frankly, it appears to be a move by the ASA to get in line with emerging communications channels, which are here to stay, rather than a plausible requirement. After all, I’m sure there are far shadier targets they should be focusing their efforts on rather than typical B2B brands!
Personally, I don’t think social media platforms will be affected as the ASA only monitors sites which are UK-owned – i.e. those using the .co.uk domain suffix. Therefore, Facebook for example won’t be at their mercy quite so much. Besides, the transient nature of online content would make rules difficult to administer anyway.
That all said, it does serve as a reminder not to become complacent about your social media dealings and as a word of caution, think carefully what you post about your company or products – Big Brother is watching you!