OFT clamps down on Twitter

The UK Office of Fair Trading is cracking down on on Twitter users and bloggers using their online presence to hawk products

Apparently celebs are making fortunes tweeting that they use various products while failing to mention that they are being paid to do so.

The OFT has brought a case against a PR firm that was discovered to be paying bloggers to write effusively about its clients.

Handpicked Media, which operates a commercial blogging network – has been told that it must clearly state when it has paid for promotional comments.

In a press release the OFT said online advertising and marketing that did not disclose paid-for promotions were “deceptive” under fair trading rules. “This includes comments about services and products on blogs and microblogs such as Twitter,” it said.

In the US popular beat combo artists such as Snoop Dogg collects nearly two thousand pounds a tweet endorsing a product. The US Federal Trade Commission has insisted that such endorsements must contain the words “ad” or “spon” to show the reference has been paid for.

In Blighty the OFT has not made such a requirement yet. That might be due to the UK being a little slow off the mark, although the OFT’s action will be sending a ripple through the industry.

Already some firms, have mounted effective Twitter campaigns using celebrities’ twitter accounts. Although it does not matter to us if ex-GMTV host Ben Shephard and model Daisy Lowe are going to buy a new Evoque 4×4 we are still not ever going to be able to afford one.