Brands will still be held responsible for comments by the public on their Facebook pages after the Australian Association of National Advertisers resisted pressure to change its definition of advertising.
The AANA issued new guidance today on what it considers best practice for brands in the digital space. It tells brands they should monitor their Facebook pages at least once a day – and more often just after posting content. It also says that brand owners whose communities comment at weekends and public holidays should “monitor periodically during these periods also”.
The move comes three months after the Advertising Standards Board rules that brands had to take responsibility for comments made on their pages.
That ruling was in response made on a Smirnoff brand page. However, several brands have come under fire over content from the public in recent weeks.
Last month Zoo Weekly published a shot of the top half of a woman’s body and and a pair of legs.
The comments from the public – which drew the attention of campaigner Melinda Tankard Reist – would now be covered by the ruling. Mumbrella understands that the ASB has been looking at the case although no ruling has yet been published.
The AANA’s acting CEO Alina Bain said: “The suggestion that applying the Codes and ASB adjudications to social media demands that brand owners should moderate their pages in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week is also complete nonsense.
“The reality is that irrespective of the ASB’s determination, any brand owner, who understands and wishes to manage reputational risk, should be adopting these practices. The community absolutely expects that brand owners should aspire to the same ethical standards in the digital space as they do in mainstream media. Brand owners who do not exercise reasonable care over what is posted and allowed to remain on their social media pages are hostage to fortune and such behaviour is simply anathema to sound brand management and good corporate governance.
“The publication of these guidelines is aligned to formalised practices that most AANA members already have in place. We hope their publication will put to rest any fear that applying the AANA Codes to social media will make the medium difficult territory for brands. The guidelines are consistent with the spirit of social media and their application will assist rather than impede real dialogue.”
According to today’s guidance from the AANA:
“The ‘best practice’ guidelines advise brand owners to monitor their social media sites in the hours immediately following a brand communication that is likely to elicit consumer responses and thereafter at least once every 24 hours during the normal working week. It also advises brand owners whose social media communities are likely to be particularly active at weekends and on public holidays to monitor periodically during these periods also.”