Post-Implementation Public Consultation: Guidelines on Interactive Marketing Communication & Social Media

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) is seeking post-implementation feedback on the Guidelines on Interactive Marketing Communication & Social Media (‘the Guidelines’) that were introduced on 29 August 2016. 

Background

The Guidelines cover the following areas that are pertinent to marketing on social media: 

  1. Disclosure of sponsored content
  2. Clarity of e-commerce
  3. Suitability of marketing communication for children 
  4. Handling of unendorsed messages 
  5. Forbidding the use of fake engagement   

Since the introduction of the Guidelines, social media platforms have made changes that may facilitate ethical practices such as sponsorship disclosure. They include:   

  • Facebook and Instagram permitting posts to be labelled as sponsored 
  • Twitter raising the character limit for tweets from 140 to 280   

In addition, in April 2017, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it issued more than 90 letters to influencers and marketers, some of which addressed particular disclosures that were not clear to consumers.   

Since the introduction of the Guidelines (i.e. from 1 September 2016 to 31 October 2017), ASAS has received six complaints about social media posts that the complainants claimed were undisclosed sponsored posts. Where necessary, ASAS has advised the originators of the posts to include clearer disclosures.   

For comments   

ASAS would like to seek feedback from members of the public and the industry on their experiences with implementing the Guidelines and, where the Guidelines can be fine-tuned, and the areas that ASAS should consider including in an update of the Guidelines. They may use the following questions to guide their comments:   

  1. What disclosures clearly state the average consumer that the content is sponsored? What disclosures do not, or are ambiguous? 
  2. What aspects of ethical marketing does your contract between the brand, media and influencer cover that the Guidelines do not? 
  3. What obstacles and vagarities have you faced in the course of implementing the Guidelines? 
  4. What social media guidelines would you like to see expanded upon? Why? 
  5. Are there new developments in social media marketing that are not currently regulated by the Guidelines? 
  6. Are there new developments that make the Guidelines redundant or irrelevant? Which guidelines?   

ASAS invites views and comments on the above matter. All submissions should be clear and concise and include a reasoned explanation for any proposed amendments. Submissions may be made using the linked Google Form (click to open the form) or sent to the ASAS Secretariat via the post or e-mail address below. They must reach ASAS no later than 5 p.m. on 12 January 2018.   

Post 

Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore
170 Ghim Moh Road
#05-01
Ulu Pandan Community Building
Singapore 279621

E-mail 

asas@case.org.sg   

We regret that we may not be able to publicly acknowledge or implement every submission that ASAS receives. All feedback received will be treated with the strictest confidentiality. 

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