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Who said that? Businesses responsible for user generated content on their Facebook pages
Brand owners need to pay close attention to user generated content on their Facebook and other social media pages following a recent determination by the Advertising Standards Bureau.
The ASB determined that advertising standards set out in the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code applied not only to content posted by brand owners on their Facebook pages but also to content posted by users.
In other words, according to the ASB:
- user generated content on a brand’s Facebook page could constitute an advertisement by the brand owner,
- brand owners are ultimately responsible for users’ comments and posts on the brand’s Facebook page.
While compliance with the Code is voluntary, the ASB can publicly release adverse determinations and also refer breaches that potentially contravene the law (e.g. consumer protection legislation) to the ACCC.
In making its determination, the ASB referred to the Federal Court’s decision in ACCC v Allergy Pathway Pty Ltd (No 2)  FCA 74 where it was held that a company was liable for fake testimonials posted by others on its Facebook page of which it was aware but chose not to remove.
- Businesses who use social media need to monitor user generated content to ensure that misleading statements are not being posted.
- User generated content could include Facebook posts as well as comments posted a business’ blog.
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