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Australian Agency Rules Facebook Pages Responsible For Comments 141

Posted by samzenpus
from the names-will-never-hurt-me dept.
jibjibjib writes "The Australian reports that brands in Australia could be forced to abandon their social media campaigns, after the Advertising Standards Bureau ruled that they were responsible for comments posted on their pages. According to the article, the ASB is poised to release a report attacking Carlton & United Breweries for derogatory comments posted on one of their official Facebook pages, despite CUB monitoring and removing those comments twice daily. Legal expert John Swinson commented on the decision, saying 'You simply can no longer have two-way conversations with your customers.'"
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Australian Agency Rules Facebook Pages Responsible For Comments

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  • Good. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I am an advocate of organisations having a degree of responsibility for anything they intend to profit from - so I think Facebook should be party responsible for everything posted on Facebook, and organisations with Facebook pages should be partly responsible for anything posted on their pages.

    It is not as if they're going to spread the gains they receive to "the people" when commeting/behaviour goes in their favour.

    The laws of Western countries are very much set up to capitalise profit and socialise losses

    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ThunderBird89 (1293256) <(zalanmeggyesi) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:10AM (#40892745)

      Why should anyone share responsibility for what you say? In the same vein, should the local government, the builder company and the maker of a cardboard box be responsible for anything I shout while standing on said box on a street corner? Is London responsible for whatever anyone says on Speakers' Corner?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Why should anyone share responsibility for what you say?

        Why should anyone profit from what you say?

        In the same vein, should the local government, the builder company and the maker of a cardboard box be responsible for anything I shout while standing on said box on a street corner?

        Yes, to the extent each party knowingly continues to benefit from it.

        The whole point in government, being a body representing the people, is that it holds a degree of responsibility for what the people do. Bad government implies bad citizenry, and vice versa.

        Is London responsible for whatever anyone says on Speakers' Corner?

        Of course. Try spending a minute calling everyone around you to "kill dirty niggers and kikes, especially that Jamal Rosenberg guy at number 27" and see what happens.

        Most political speech is necessary, though -

        • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ThunderBird89 (1293256) <(zalanmeggyesi) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:30AM (#40892837)

          Why should anyone share responsibility for what you say?

          Why should anyone profit from what you say?

          I fail to see how the company profited from derogatory slurs...

          In the same vein, should the local government, the builder company and the maker of a cardboard box be responsible for anything I shout while standing on said box on a street corner?

          Yes, to the extent each party knowingly continues to benefit from it.

          The whole point in government, being a body representing the people, is that it holds a degree of responsibility for what the people do. Bad government implies bad citizenry, and vice versa.

          It doesn't, not in the slightest. The government holds responsibility for its actions towards its electors, but not for all the actions of its people. Otherwise, I could sue your state for any given thing, like trying to slander me. Bad government implies bad politicians, but it has nothing to do with the populace in general.

          Is London responsible for whatever anyone says on Speakers' Corner?

          Of course. Try spending a minute calling everyone around you to "kill dirty niggers and kikes, especially that Jamal Rosenberg guy at number 27" and see what happens.

          Most political speech is necessary, though - which is why the government is responsible for protecting rather than prohibiting it.

          That's simple hate speech, prosecutable under law. Connecting this to the article, someone targeted by the "hate speech" on the page could file a complaint and have the court investigate it, but certainly not Facebook or the company itself (who was not a target).

          • Bad government implies bad politicians, but it has nothing to do with the populace in general.

            I would hardily disagree with this statement. WE THE PEOPLE get the government we deserve. After all, we keep voting them into office!

            IF you don't like your government, you are FULLY responsible for it. Which is exactly why I'm a libertarian and keep telling people the only responsible government is one that is so limited and defined that it is not responsible for much. Namely keeping Peace, and Justice, and protec

            • by Cytotoxic (245301)

              Sounds a little like Penn Jillette's rant on Hannity's show recently. Mr. Right-wing claimed he was throwing his vote away on libertarians like Gary Johnson and asked if we could ever elect a third party. Penn tells him the same thing you hinted at - if the people decide they want something different from the red/blue gruel they are being served, they'll change the government tomorrow.

              Penn schooled him on libertarian politics to the point that Hannity admitted "I think I just got trounced in that debate!"

      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Funny)

        by bug1 (96678) on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:18AM (#40892793)

        "In the same vein, should the local government, the builder company and the maker of a cardboard box be responsible for anything I shout while standing on said box on a street corner?"

        Whilst lying on the ground as a result of trying to stand on the cardbox box, will you think someone other than yourself responsible for your fall ?

      • by dbIII (701233)
        I see it as more like a drinking establishment getting shut down due to what the clients are doing.
        That doesn't mean I think it's fair, just that I think that's how the legal system sees it.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I see it as more like a drinking establishment getting shut down due to what the clients are doing.
          That doesn't mean I think it's fair, just that I think that's how the legal system sees it.

          No. It's more like shutting down a sports stadium and prosecuting the owners for hate crimes because one fan got pissed off and called one of the players a nigger, then got kicked out by security.

          • by jpapon (1877296)
            This is exactly what happened in the most recent Eurocup. National football associations were fined for the behavior (hate speech) of their fans.
            • by KhabaLox (1906148)

              This is exactly what happened in the most recent Eurocup. National football associations were fined for the behavior (hate speech) of their fans.

              Which goes to show you the odd dichotomy between free speech laws in Commonwealth countries (and Europe) and the US.

        • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:21AM (#40893877)

          I think it's more like a drinking establishment getting shut down due to what some delinquent teenager spray paints on the front of their building. At least the bar would have an option to stop and prevent entry to troublemakers before hand. With Facebook particularly, there is no way to prevent someone from 'liking' and posting on a business wall until they have done something that lets you determine they are troublemakers, which is after-the-fact.

          If Facebook were to add a 'poster quality' feature by which business sites can add some sort of 'troll rating' to a person and use that to predetermine if they can just like and comment willy-nilly, then it could be more fair. That's totally just going to be abused and gamed somehow, though.

          But I digress, it is the responsibility of the prosecuting agency to manage what is and isn't objectionable content, not that of the people who are the victims of said content.

          • by jpapon (1877296)
            If I host a message board, I am responsible for policing its content. I must at least show that I have made a reasonable effort to ensure that illegal content isn't being posted. What constitutes a reasonable effort will vary by jurisdiction and court-room.

            If people are coordinating criminal activity on my message board, you can be damned sure the police are going to be mighty interested in talking to me.

            • by lgw (121541)

              Sure, but the reasonable debate here is over what constitutes a "reasonable effort" to keep it clean. Moderating twice a day sounds fine to me, in general.

              If people are coordinating criminal activity on my message board, you can be damned sure the police are going to be mighty interested in talking to me.

              One would hope the police would be interested in the server logs and the nice confessions being posted, but sadly it's usually about removing the appearance of wrongdoing form the public eye, not reduction in actual criminal activity.

      • Alternatively, suppose I run a company newsletter, which is posted out, and includes customer commends, and someone submits a comment "ThunderBird89 is a dirty paedo, go torch his house with him in it". Could I reasonably claim that I have no responsibility? BTW, this isn't a rhetorical question - the whole area is horribly complicated.
      • Why should anyone share responsibility for what you say?

        If you are an official spokesperson for Company X, do you think that the company should bear no responsibility at all for what you say in acting out your duties are their spokesperson?

        Remember, it's not Facebook that's being held responsible here. The decision merely states that corporate FB pages which push a product ought to be treated as advertising and be subject to the normal law as regards advertising. Thus a company advertising on FB can not

        • Spokespeople in their official role are a different matter altogether. What I'm driving it is the comments of third parties being considered part of the advertising, as you said. They are not, in my opinion, and the company pushing the advert should not be held responsible for what unknown people comment on its pages. comments should be owned wholly by the commenters, as they are the only ones who can take true responsibility for what they are saying.

          • by Capsaicin (412918) *

            I wrote that it was "surprising" that those commenting would, as it were, be conscripted as spokespeople for said advertiser. On reflection it really isn't. Instead it probably flows ineluctably from the legislative framework within which the board has to work. That is, there is may be no easy way for current advertising law to distinguish between the content provided by the company and that provided by the commenters. The finding that a corporate FB presence constitutes advertising, leads to the result

    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Eyeball97 (816684) on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:17AM (#40892789)

      I am an advocate of organisations having a degree of responsibility for anything they intend to profit from - so I think Facebook should be party responsible for everything posted on Facebook, and organisations with Facebook pages should be partly responsible for anything posted on their pages.

      What kind of twisted reasoning could possibly lead you to that conclusion?

      I disagree wholeheartedly but I'm open minded enough to argue WHY you think anyone should be responsible for someone else's comments.

      By your logic, Slashdot is (partly?) responsible for THIS comment? And yours? Where do you draw the line? Why should the fact that Slashdot (presumably) makes one off running the site make a difference, why the distinction whether it's for-profit or non-profit?

      • by Eyeball97 (816684)

        "makes MONEY" I don't know what happened to the m and the y, keyboard fart.

      • By your logic, Slashdot is (partly?) responsible for THIS comment? And yours? Where do you draw the line? Why should the fact that Slashdot (presumably) makes one off running the site make a difference, why the distinction whether it's for-profit or non-profit?

        Can't speak for the OP, but I like the way the line is drawn in Franch law.

        Websites are responsible for what gets published on them. Much like written print publications, they're expected to excercise editorial control. They distinguish between pre- vs post- moderation, however. If you pre-moderate comments, your ass is on the line -- always, and in full. If you post-moderate comments, your ass is on the line too, but the law is such that the author becomes responsible if you can identify him and proactivel

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      pre-censorship of the comments?

      fuck you.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        "Your comment has been held for moderation". There, see, that wasn't so hard now was it? If they are going to delete offensive comments every 12 hours, why not instead approve the non-offensive ones every 12 hours?
        • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Monday August 06, 2012 @06:32AM (#40893223)

          Because that way everyone has to wait 12 hours to post a comment, rendering realtime conversation impossible, and facebook have to run a (maybe impossibly) massive moderation team to process every single post, whereas the other way they have a much smaller team that just responds to complaints/flags from other users.

          • Not to mention that (in the US at least... and yes I know the article is talking about Australia) the "moderate first before posting" system would open them up to *MORE* liability. If Facebook just posts a comment that someone makes, gives tools to report inappropriate comments, and responds to these reports in a timely fashion (say, 1 business day), then they can claim they aren't responsible for what people say and they do their best to keep the inappropriate stuff offline. If they moderate first, thoug

        • Does slashdot do that? I have posted some pretty objectionable stuff in my days here, and I have never once seen that.

          Regardless, it is not the same thing to have an automatic filter. I can eloquently phrase and word in prose a threat to dismember you violently, using a rather dull cutting instrument, and a filter wouldn't remotely pick up on it. Expecting everyone with a facebook page to sit there and sift through their viewers' comments for things which random people may or may not find offensive is a rid

        • by Dr. Evil (3501)

          This comment has been held for moderation

        • I don't know. I'm totally with you on that one. It's also illegal to shout fire in a crowded theater, so we should pass a law that every movie goer needs to put on a special mask that has a microphone attached, with noise cancellation technology. Then stream whatever the user says over WIFI over to a network to a crack team of censorship specialists in the backroom of the theater (and the NSA) who will then approve or deny what was said with 12 hours. If it gets approved, then it can be went back wirele

          • by Eyeball97 (816684)

            It's also illegal to shout fire in a crowded theater

            It is? Next time I'm in a crowded theater that's on fire I must remember not to shout "fire"

            • Ah! You are correct! In the actual case of a fire, the crack team of censorship specialists will then approve it for playback within 12 hours.

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      I am an advocate of organisations having a degree of responsibility for anything they intend to profit from

      - sure, that's fine, that's what liability is about, your business should be responsible for what it does and how it does it, and the business is responsible.

      The business is responsible to the customers first, it's responsible to the owners, shareholders, whoever the investors are.

      However it's NOT what this ruling is about. This is not about a business having to be responsible for WHAT IT DOES. This is NOT what the business does.

      Anybody, a client or not a client of a business can come and post a comment.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      I am an advocate of organisations having a degree of responsibility for anything they intend to profit from

      Thinking like this leads straight to cooperation enforced censorship, as companies like to avoid risk and thus stuff like the Anonymous Coward function you used to post this, would very likely be the first things to go. Easy account creation as well, so welcome Facebook login everywhere. That's not even theoretically speaking, over here in Germany we have tons of shitty rules like this, one of the results of that is that free anonymous Wifi essentially does not exist over here, because it's simply to risky

    • Right? Why should police and people whose job it is to locate and remove dangerous or threatening content actually have to work? It's totally a better situation for them to just make a law that says everyone has to police themselves, and then just collect their paycheck anyway.

      Saying people should be responsible for things other people post on their third-party internet services is like saying you should arrest a building owner for vandalism when someone tags his store sign.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      We live in capitalism where making money is not a sin in itself.

    • by dissy (172727)

      so I think Facebook should be party responsible for everything posted on Facebook, and organisations with Facebook pages should be partly responsible for anything posted on their pages.

      So you agree that if I post a goatse URL in reply to your message, that you are responsible for that? Responsible as in it is your fault, and you agree you must accept the blame for it?

      Considering you are posting anonymous while attempting to claim liability and responsibility for anything posted in reply to you is the height of humor.

    • This has censorship written all over it, as well as reactionary anti-censorship. The responsibility must be limited to deliberate republications of the comments beyond the automatic publication by the social media. Otherwise it invites antagonists to cause undue penalties to an organization by posting offensive comments, and/or suppresses controversial subject matter from supporters of an organization for fear it may cause them penalties.
    • Trademarks property of their respective owners. Comments owned by the poster. © 2012 All Rights Reserved. Geeknet, Inc.

      I like how you post as an AC --something that can't be done on Facebook or most social networks. I'm glad that /. gives everyone that option, even if it makes trolling possible. I don't think that any company should be held responsible for comments posted on their site, though. If it was revealed that a Facebook employee was making harassing comments to a user, using company tools, and maybe on company time, maybe they could hold some burden of the guilt.

      To me, the 'responsibility' issue is why so many p

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "The Australian reports" only if you define the term very loosely.

  • I am an Aussie and I am glad if this will get these companies off facebook and run their own services. I am sick and tired of companies blackmailing their customers for a "like" to get their advertising.

    • Re:Good on them (Score:4, Insightful)

      by million_monkeys (2480792) on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:44AM (#40892883)

      I am an Aussie and I am glad if this will get these companies off facebook and run their own services. I am sick and tired of companies blackmailing their customers for a "like" to get their advertising.

      Well now you've got a way to blackmail them back. If they force you to 'like' their page, just hop over and post a comment describing how their product is the perfect way to give people the energy needed to oppress minorities (or whatever it is that will get them in trouble). Then file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. Be sure to send a note to the company letting them know that you'll stop if they stop.

      • Re:Good on them (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sg_oneill (159032) on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:49AM (#40892903)

        What you think "opressing minorities" would be considered a negative in australia. Boy do you have some things to learn about this messed up country.....

        • Hey, Jack, we're from the US. Nothing surprises us when it comes to governments belittling and oppressing their own citizens.

      • by Capsaicin (412918) *

        ... just hop over and post a comment describing how their product is the perfect way to give people the energy needed to oppress minorities (or whatever it is that will get them in trouble).

        Better still would be to make unsupportable claims about the efficacy of the product, eg. "Fosters has been shown in university tests to reverse prostrate cancer within two weeks. Now you can quit that chemotherapy and just drink beer. How good is that?!" That should tick all the boxes for false advertising without

    • Fair enough you don't like it, but is that really something one should wield government to deal with?

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Why should they be less liable on their own services? If companies are responsible for comments posted on their Facebook page, I don't see why they shouldn't also be responsible for comments posted on their blog.

      • I know! They should also completely be responsible for the content of any pages that use images of them, or by them, and for all Yelp reviews of their business, and for any threats they may receive in the mail, as that is also a public-facing service....

        Don't be stupid. They can't control what some asshole is going to post on their page. It's not their job to police their comments, even if they're hateful. They probably want to, just to preserve their image, but it doesn't need to be a legal matter(aside fr

    • by dbIII (701233)
      I'm one of those sheep that joined up to Facebook in the first place just to get a discount on a phone. Personally I think that stuff is the least of many problems with Facebook which is one reason I haven't logged onto it this year.
    • by Dog-Cow (21281)

      You've been blackmailed by a corporation? You are a sad little man. Maybe 'boy' would be more accurate?

      Seriously. How does anyone blackmail you into giving them a 'like' on a social media website?

      • --Seriously. How does anyone blackmail you into giving them a 'like' on a social media website?

        They hacked his private photos and told him they'd release them to all his friends if he didn't like them.

  • Humour (Score:5, Informative)

    by quenda (644621) on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:13AM (#40892765)

    Apparently the humour of some posts has gone right over the heads of the Advertising Standards Bureau.
    You see, the VB brand has a bit of a bogan image, ie redneck, lower socioeconomic. So when the posters mentioned sluts and poofs, they are not mocking women and homosexuals, but the brand and the stereotypical people perceived to drink it.

    • You've got some mighty twisted logic there... if they're mocking the stereotypes, and those stereotypes are "sluts and poofs"... How are they *not* mocking women and homosexuals? That's like painting a target on a window and claiming that it's OK to heave rocks at it because "you were aiming at the target, not the window".

      • by labnet (457441)

        It's called 'taking the piss'. A strange Australian ritual of humor that I wold not expect anyone who has not been born here to understand.

        • No, we have the same type of humor here in America too. I wouldn't expect provincial jackasses to understand that though.

      • by quenda (644621)

        How are they *not* mocking women and homosexuals?

        It is cally parody. Parody of bogan VB drinkers in this case. I suggest you consult the works of Sacha Baron Cohen.

  • Then again... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is the same country that holds the owner of a shopping centre liable if someone slips on a chip, and the area isn't cleaned every 20mins.

    http://www.manningrivertimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/the-case-against-woolworths/2482031.aspx

  • Try "Australian Ads Body Rules Companies Responsible For Own Facebook Content"

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Try "Australian Ads Body Rules Companies Responsible For Own Facebook Content"

      So you would like to substitute bullshit for reality? They are being made responsible for users' facebook content, as well as their own. Probably the idea is to crack down on shilling, but it has far-reaching ramifications for speech instead.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:35AM (#40892857) Homepage Journal

    This is just the worst that comes out of courtrooms.

    Think about it - you start a business, it doesn't even have to be big or anything, maybe you are giving advice, maybe you are selling toy airplanes, hell, maybe you are giving away toy airplanes (I don't know why I chose airplanes here), and somebody posts comments on your forum that are 'derogatory'.

    Well those comments just may be derogatory, but how can the person hosting the forum be held responsible for derogatory comments made by other people?

    What about /.? It's a business, after all, people are getting paid to run it, there are ads here (I think), so what would happen if /. was held personally responsible for all the derogatory shit that people spill here?

    "Fuck nigger cocksucker dyke blow me." - so somebody leaves comments like that or whatever on a forum and all of a sudden a person or a business hosting it is responsible and is liable to all sorts of lawsuits.

    THAT stifles innovation. THAT prevents innovative people from starting businesses that rely on new ideas how to promote their business, it sure HELPS the monopolies (and that's how monopolies are created - with government interference in the market in the first place, and this IS government interference with the market, and this will prevent innovation and stifle competition and help monopolies).

    ALL basic freedoms are important to have a vibrant economy, freedom of speech, association, private property ownership, speedy trial, not being thrown in jail without a trial, not being harassed by the government, etc.

    Take one of those freedoms out and you stop the economy from innovating, and this is important. Think about the Mars mission with Curiosity. Is it important to have a vibrant economy to be able to freaking afford a mission like that? Is Zimbabwe running a mission like that?

    • The ruling was by the ADVERTISING STANDARDS COUNCIL. They have NO jurisdiction over normal websites. The facebook pages they are talking about were being used AS advertisements.
      • by roman_mir (125474)

        So what?
        First: what's a 'normal' website? How is posting ads on /. different from FB or anywhere else where people can leave comments?

        Second: what's 'advertising'? How about you mention your product or service on /. (in Australia) and then what, why would it be different? If this is specifically about FB, then it's camel's nose under the tent, gov't just needs one instance of regulation that covers something specific and then it expands it to everything. Aren't we all 'terrorists' and guilty by some gov

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        By the way, here is an ABC report on the shootings in a Sikh temple, read the comments [go.com].

        Half of the comments there could be considered 'derogatory' if not worse, one way or another. This is a news site, so it is one huge advertising vehicle for the news channel, isn't it?

        So with this new law in Australia would the news sites be eventually liable for the comments that people leave? You think not? Isn't it getting very political, very fast? How about dissent, can't dissenting opinion be considered 'derogatory

        • I think using the term "skinhead" in the article itself should get them in trouble before the regulators even scroll down the comments section...
          • by roman_mir (125474)

            Why? They maybe absolutely wrong and not doing the reporting the 'right' way, maybe they are not even a news site, maybe they are just another 'yellow tabloid', masquerading as a news site, but why should they be in trouble with regulators? Why should there be regulators above them, not their audience, not their clients and investors, but government regulators?

            Really, you think government is what is needed to regulate business behaviour? ABC is only catering to its audience, whatever their niche is, if the

          • by lgw (121541)

            I think using the term "skinhead" in the article itself should get them in trouble before the regulators even scroll down the comments section...

            How right your are! Failure to use government-approved language, or worse failure to stick to government-approved topics, is such a failing for a news organization. If you don't smack that down, soon people will start getting ideas about a "free press", or some other such drivel, and all sorts of Wrong ideas will get attention!

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      The ruling is a bit more subtle than that.

      The Facebook pages in question are adverts. They are there to sell more beer. In your example a forum is not an advert so reactively moderating it should be fine. But these guys are using their Facebook page for promotion so it falls under advertising rules, and it sounds like they need to be approving posts before they appear on the page.

      Advertising is generally not considered free speech and is not protected in the same way. In fact it is often strongly regulated

  • The problem is where does this end? What about forums like slashdot? What about grafitti on a building - where cleaning twice a day would be almost unheard of
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:52AM (#40892911)

    No reason, just curious...

  • that Australia is still just a big dumb penal colony? (at least its "leaders". Getting as bad as the US)
    • Re:New proof... (Score:5, Informative)

      by dbIII (701233) on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:22AM (#40892993)
      It's funny how you smug insulting Americans know so little of your own history. Australia only became a penal colony because England could no longer use America for that purpose.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      that Australia is still just a big dumb penal colony? (at least its "leaders". Getting as bad as the US)

      No longer penal and no longer colony. Otherwise... spot on.

      (ducks)

  • You simply can no longer have two-way conversations with your customers.

    You simply can no longer have public two-way conversations with your customers.

    • You simply can no longer have two-way conversations with your customers.

      You simply can no longer have public two-way conversations with your customers.

      You simply can not have public two-way conversations with your customers (i.e. it's not that they have gotten worse, it's just that they haven't been this public before).

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        You simply can no longer have two-way conversations with your customers.

        You simply can no longer have public two-way conversations with your customers.

        You simply can not have public two-way conversations with your customers (i.e. it's not that they have gotten worse, it's just that they haven't been this public before).

        "You simply cannot" would be just enough.

        At least that's what ASB and other such govts agencies tell us everyday.

    • by EmagGeek (574360)

      Don't give them such a hard time. They probably grew up in Generation N (for Narcissism) where there is no such thing as anything in private.

  • People are using the anonymous cover of Twitter to hide behind and post abusive and hateful, even threatening messages. This was highlighted last week by the arrest of a young man in England who posted about Olympic diver Tom Daley. There are increasingly louder calls for Twitter to censor the messages. Excellent article examining recent problem related to the Olympics; http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/pressure-grows-on-twitter-to-curb-abusive-trolls-8007756.html [independent.co.uk]

    • Perhaps Twitter should just ignore the calls for censorship much like people should probably just ignore the trolls.

    • Oh yes, I'm glad that dangerous criminal was apprehended. He said something mean about somebody important, we can't let that stand. Now let's see them apply that law to all everyone else who gets offended on the internet, and see how fast the system gets choked up.

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      FTFY:
      "People are using the anonymous cover of pen and paper to hide behind and post abusive and hateful, even threatening messages. "

  • Advertising Standards Bureau [adstandards.com.au]:

    The Advertising Standards Bureau administers a national system of advertising self-regulation through the Advertising Standards Board and the Advertising Claims Board. The self-regulation system recognises that advertisers share a common interest in promoting consumer confidence in and respect for general standards of advertising.

    Self regulation, eh? So the whole decision is effectively meaningless anyway. And if the Australian advertising world at large decides that it's a load of bollocks, then chances are the ASB will change its tune anyway. With it being pretty insane to label public comment on an "open" forum advertising

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      With it being pretty insane to label public comment on an "open" forum advertising

      Hmmm.... yes, the C&UB opened their FB page just for the purpose of, you know, social networking... I guess they were feeling lonely and bored and decided to make some friends and have a way to show their mothers how the grandchildren grow.

  • What's strange about this is that the ASB are a self-regulated *COUGH* *COUGH* group from the advertisers which are infamous for dismissing complaints by the public. The scuttlebutt with self-regulation of advertisers, medical professionals, lawyers, anybody, is the hope that if you pretend to do the job yourself the government won't do it for you. Their investigations inevitably end with: "Further finding that the advertisement did not breach the Code on any other grounds, the Board dismissed the complaint."

    But don't take my word for it. Their determinations are online here:
    http://www.adstandards.com.au/casereports/determinations/standards?browse [adstandards.com.au]

    There have been many stories published accusing the ASB of being biased towards advertisers:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-04-29/advertisers-blamed-for-increasing-child/2701322 [abc.net.au]
    http://vimeo.com/2788853 [vimeo.com]
    http://mumbrella.com.au/asb-investigates-lynx-dry-ads-featuring-women-who-look-hot-wet-27383 [mumbrella.com.au]
    http://www.abc.net.au/cgi-bin/common/printfriendly.pl?http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2287201.htm [abc.net.au]
    http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3029145.htm [abc.net.au]
    http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2598826.htm [abc.net.au]
    https://www.google.com/search?q= [google.com]"media+watch"+"advertising+standards"&site:abc.net.au

    The crazy thing is the standards are voluntary so there is no penalty even if they do catch you out. Here they did catch Subway for passing off manufactured meat as fillet, but the penalty was, ummm... nothing. Subway said they would change the menus. That was it. (This article says it could be referred to the ACCC, but they are a statutory body and can do that anyway without the ASB. You can complain directly to the ACCC anyway. The ASB has the same legal status that you and your footie mates head out to a game.) http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2012/06/27/food-companies-asked-to-apply-for-government-money-2.html [ausfoodnews.com.au]

    Advertisers take advantage of the weak penalties by doing such bad taste ads they're bound to get reported and get a 6:30PM news story asking "Has XYZ gone too far with this sexy ad? stay tuned and we'll show you after the break." Most infamous was the blow jobs for shoes ads: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/240602_s4.htm [abc.net.au]

    So why on Earth has the ASB come down hard on Facebook? For a fervently pro-advertiser organisation this is quite weird. I doubt it's because they're suddenly "siding with the consumer". I think there is something more going on here. Perhaps it's because advertisers hate losing ad revenue while firms start advertising directly on the Internet? Perhaps this is an chance to scare wayward customers back into their arms?

    And there is the punchline: The ASB has no power anyway, so despite the buzz this news story has created Carlton Breweries can flip them the bird and keep using Facebook. Must suck when Self-regulation comes back to bite you, eh, ASB? ;-)
  • Between its official censorship and now this, does Australia actually practice a kind of quiet, democratic kind of authoritarianism?

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.

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