Australia Ruling May Make Facebook Page Administrators’ Jobs Tougher

By David Cohen 

In a ruling that may have a ripple effect on Facebook page administrators globally, Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau declared that brands are responsible for the content of all comments on their pages.

The Herald Sun reported that the ASB became involved after a complaint about posts on the Smirnoff Australia Facebook page, which is managed by Profera and Diageo.

According to the Herald Sun, the complaint cited posts containing vulgarity and obscenity, promoting excessive drinking, and tying alcohol consumption together with sexual and social prowess.

In ruling that brands are responsible for the content on their Facebook pages, the ASB said, as reported by the Herald Sun:

The board considered that the Facebook site of an advertiser is a marketing communication tool over which the advertiser has a reasonable degree of control and could be considered to draw the attention of a segment of the public to a product in a manner calculated to promote or oppose directly or indirectly that product.

The board determined that the provisions of the code apply to an advertiser’s Facebook page. As a Facebook page can be used to engage with customers, the board further considered that the code applies to the content generated by the advertisers, as well as material or comments posted by users or friends.

Monitoring comments and posts has always been part of the job description of the page administrator, but the ruling in Australia will force them to devote even more time to the process.

Readers: Do you think other countries will adopt similar rulings about content on brands’ Facebook pages?