UK Clamping Down On Misleading Ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received over 3,500 complaints in regards to online ads. However, the watchdog could not do anything about most of them. That is about to change, though.

The ASA rules have changed, and they can now police over all misleading marketing messages, including website and social networking promotions, reports The Telegraph.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body responsible for writing the regulations, said it had decided to extend the ASA’s reach after a formal recommendation from a wide cross-section of British industry.

Last year the internet was the second most complained about medium after TV. However, the watchdog has been until now unable to take any action against companies making false promises online.

In an effort to protect freedom of speech online the rules will focus on ads that sell products rather than journalistic and editorial content, the ASA said.

The watchdog will be able to demand the removal of paid-for links to pages hosting a banned advertisement, with the agreement of search engines.

It could also place its own advertisements online, highlighting an advertiser’s continued refusal to comply with a ruling.

Image from Beth Kanter

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