Pause before you post…

Gone are the days when marketing campaigns are relegated to just hard copy printed materials. They are more often than not found, promoted and run online, and increasingly through social media which offers a speedy and an efficient method of an organisation speaking to its audience.

It also offers the audience the opportunity to like, share and comment on the campaign, providing a unique and ‘in the moment’ conversation between a business and its customers. Not only this, but employees of the organisation can also promote and share the campaign through their own networks and via social media.

But did you know that an organisation can be bound by marketing claims made in its social media channels? And communications made through channels such as Twitter can be found to be an ad, even if they were just meant to  drum up attention?

Recently we have seen the ASA uphold complaints that a tweet promoting a campaign for solid gold beer cans was misleading as it contained incorrect information (in this case, just one word). Decisions like this not only puts an organisation on the radar of the regulator, but it can potentially result in negative perception of the brand and provide a route for persons affected by the misleading ad to seek to bring separate civil claims.

It is also worth noting that organisations may not be able to go back and change the posts to amend or omit the offending information or words. Whilst editing is now a possibility provided you jump through certain hoops, there are restrictions on how many times a tweet can be edited and users can still see earlier versions of tweets. This highlights the permanence of a claim once it has been published.  It is therefore important for organisations to consider whether they need to “pause before they post”.

Whilst social media provides an excellent communication tool, businesses should consider having policies and training in place setting out the parameters of its usage to prevent any regulatory focus,  negative PR and potential civil claims. 


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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