Advertising watchdog to regulate Twitter, Facebook, blogs

A report on ClickZ said that the so-far very toothless UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is going to start monitoring firms that make claims on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, presumably. And they’ll apply to blogs. Eh?

Tom Foremski, at Silicon Valley Watcher, makes the point that “everyone is now a media company. And subject to the same regulations – at least in the UK”.

That follows suggestions made by the Advertising Association, but if it ever happens, just how the ASA is going to manage this beggars, or buggers, the imagination.

According to ClickZ, marketeers and social network sites will face the same invigilation from the ASA as adverts on the web, on TV and in print.

The ASA code, which you can find here, is intended to make sure adverts don’t mislead, harm, or offend. Ads must be “socially responsible” and there are rules relating to alchohol, health and beauty, medicines, gambling, prizes and a lot of other stuff too.

“The ASA administers the rules in the spirt as well as the letter, making it almost impossible for advertisers to find loopholes or ‘get off on a technicality’.  It’s a “common sense approach.”

But where will the ASA find the personnel to man this new approach to the internet? ClickZ said regulations will be funded through “a small contribution” from media agencies. The rules will come into effect later this year, said ClickZ.

Foremski says that the ASA will need a lot of staff – and it will be a great way to create jobs. He suggests America should try it too.