An Australian court has ruled that it's one, big advertisement and that companies, their employees, and third parties had better start making sure their comments are non-offensive and are -- shudders! -- factually accurate. According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
A RULING that Facebook is an advertising medium - and not just a way to communicate - will force companies to vet comments posted by the public to ensure they are not sexist, racist or factually inaccurate.
In a move that could change the nature of the social networking site forever, companies could be fined or publicly shamed for the comments that appear on their Facebook "brand" pages.
Last month the advertising industry watchdog issued a judgment in which it said comments made by "fans" of a vodka brand's Facebook page were ads and must therefore comply with industry self-regulatory codes, and therefore consumer protection laws.
A media lawyer is warning the Advertising Standards Board's ruling on Smirnoff's Facebook page will put the onus back on companies to be more vigilant about the nature of the comments people are posting to their company pages.
It's an intriguing ruling in light of a very popular Washington Post story over the weekend about Facebook Employee #51, who quit Facebook (employment-wise and account-wise) and moved to a rural area in part over concerns about the company's tracking and marketing platforms.
So watch out, companies with operations Down Under. The information on your social media pages should be factual, or soon you might be in for some public shaming.