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November 28, 2012

ACCC: consumer protection laws apply to social media

The ACCC has published an Information Sheet setting out its view that businesses using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a responsibility to ensure content on their pages is accurate, irrespective of who put it there.

This follows recent court and tribunal decisions (see here).

UPDATE 29 November: The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has published its best practice guideline "Responsible Marketing Communications in the digital space".

The ACCC says "You must ensure any claims you make as part of your marketing and promotional activities are not false, misleading or deceptive. This includes advertisements or statements using any media, including print, radio, television, websites and social media channels like Facebook and Twitter...

You can also be held responsible for posts or public comments made by others on your social media pages which are false or likely to mislead or deceive consumers. ..
Don’t make statements on your Facebook or other social media pages that you wouldn’t make in any other type of advertising. If you’re unsure about what you can or can’t say, seek legal advice.

Monitor your social media pages and remove any posts that may be false, misleading or deceptive as soon as you become aware of them. This is what the ACCC would expect you to do with any other type of advertisement.

Establish clear ‘house rules’ that apply to the actions of your fans, friends and followers when using your social media pages. These rules should be featured prominently on your social media pages. You should then block users who breach these rules."

The Information Sheet contains helpful examples.

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Posted 28th November 2012 by David Jacobson in Consumer Law, Marketing