Who: Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP“)
When: 13 April 2016
Law stated as at: 16 May 2016
CAP has issued updated guidance on the use of user generated content (“UCG“) in ads. This advice is timely and follows on from the recent discussions in the industry surrounding native advertising and the importance of identifiable ads.
Generally, UCG is not within the remit of the CAP Code unless it has been “adopted and incorporated” into a marketing communication.
CAP has now explained that “adopting and incorporating” content can extend from using content on a brand’s social media channels to merely liking, commenting on or even retweeting users’ posts.
It is important to note that the guidance does not mean that UCG cannot be monitored. CAP has made clear that, in relation to moderation, UCG is likely to come within the remit of the CAP Code if the moderation has the effect of removing any content which is negative for the marketer. However this should not stop brands from implementing a reasonable moderation policy, for example, one which removes harmful or offensive posts.
Why this matters:
This guidance is useful and sheds a little more light on CAP’s interpretation of situations in which it considers UCG to have been “adopted and incorporated”.
Marketers should note that they should not be re-tweeting or liking any posts which are in breach of the CAP Code. If they do so, this will form a part of their marketing communication and subject to the CAP Code and therefore marketers will become just as responsible for the content of this UCG as they would for their own ads.