Facebook Advertising Ruling Could Have Broad Implications

Facebook advertising could be facing a serious change in the way organizations approach their platform.  A ruling earlier this week by the Advertising Standards Board in Australia has stated that the content on an organization’s Facebook page amounts to advertising – including content posted by members of the public.

This means that any organization with a Facebook page would be required to moderate all of the content on their page to ensure that it meets advertising requirements and restrictions.

I’m a firm believer in being a curator of all content on your media channels – social or otherwise – so I would expect brands to already monitor the content on their Facebook pages.  However, requiring content posted by the public to meet advertising standards takes monitoring to a new level.  In order to meet those standards, brands need to ensure that postings are not “factually inaccurate”.

Since I can’t imagine brands (no matter how big) having the time or budget to fact-check every comment left on their Facebook page, it wouldn’t surprise me if they started limiting the public’s ability to post on their page.

When I posted a piece about this ruling on my Facebook timeline yesterday, it sparked a debate among my fellow social media professionals.  The biggest question being – what are the broader implications of this ruling?   Facebook pages are free – so if we are going to consider posts, made by the public, on an organization’s free and public-facing social site, as advertising – where will that stop?

Will tweets by the public that tag an organization be considered advertising?  What about comments on a blog?  All of these are free, public-facing social platforms, like a Facebook page.  What is to say that the line ends at Facebook advertising?  I’m curious as to what other Marketers think – the impact of this ruling may not be felt immediately but it seems that this is conversation we should start having sooner, rather than later.


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