Posted on | February 14, 2011 |
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Graeme Samuel says companies will be held responsible if they do not delete or respond to false, misleading and deceptive testimonials on Facebook or Twitter.
The comments follow the Federal Court’s decision to fine an allergy products company and its director $7500 for allowing false and misleading testimonials to be published on its commercial Facebook and Twitter pages. You can read the full story here.
This ruling seems an obvious one for a company’s official Facebook Page as it is clearly company property and therefore there is an obligation to monitor and police that all content whether company or user generated is held accountable to the same rules, regulations and laws as any other official company publication.
The issue of Twitter is another story, users do post on a company’s official Facebook Page but they cannot post on a company’s official Twitter account/feed. It seems the ruling is saying that content published on Twitter by anyone (meaning on their personal Twitter accounts/feeds) is the responsibility of the company to monitor. And while it is possible to monitor Tweets for key words related to the company, it is also possible to monitor for key words related to the company on other user generated content sites like Forums, Discussion Boards, Rating and Review sites. Is the ruling saying that this now has to be done? There will be many more debates, conversations, education to follow as the implications of this ruling are fully understood.
Importantly marketers need to ensure their organizations are kept informed of this ruling and that their Rules of Engagement on their Facebook Pages state that they are obligated to remove any misleading statements and testimonials made by Fans.