UK ads watchdog to get tough on internet advertising

1 Sep 2010

In the UK, every company with a website or a Facebook page will have to conform to the codes of a little known group called the Committee of Advertising Standards, which is seeking to regulate the online advertising market.

The Advertising Standards Authority, headed by Lord Chris Smith, is aiming to put a system in place that ensures messages given to consumers are “legal, decent, honest and truthful.”

According to the Financial Times, the ASA’s current ability to ban advertising on TV if it infringes its guidelines will be tricky to enforce online.

However, the ASA is working with companies like Google, who will fund the scheme, and the plan is to remove paid-for search adverts that infringe content guidelines and to name and shame persistent offenders when consumers search for their brands or products.

As the ASA beefs up its numbers to cope with the substantial new role, companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are expected to also hire more people to make sure their advertising customers abide by the code.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years