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March 23, 2011

Social media sense

New rules covering online networking means social media must be monitored

Employers are being urged to monitor how their employees use social media for work, to prevent certain codes of conduct set out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) being breached.

Since the 1st March, marketing claims made on your own website, or non-paid for space which you control (such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs) are covered by consumer protection rules. The ASA says: “We already regulate internet adverts in paid-for space, like banner ads, pop-ups and paid search results, but our new responsibilities mean that we now apply the same high standards to marketing communications on companies own websites and in other non-paid space they control, like Facebook and Twitter.”

Comments on sites such as these must follow the same rules as advertisments, which means they must not mislead, harm or offend, and will be applied to all UK based company websites regardless of the sector or size of business or organisation. This means that if you are using websites, Twitter, Facebook, blogs or any other social media to promote a part of your business, you must ensure it adheres to the strict rules surrounded advertising in other mediums.

For managers, this change simply means that you’ll need to alert those staff members that might be responsible for updating or managing these social media sites about the changes. What they will need to understand is while these sites might be more casual in nature, a professional approach must still be taken, and they should always ensure the content of anything they write or images they post is not harmful, offensive or misleading.

You can find out more, here.

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