The landscape of Internet marketing could be set to change considerably following a ruling by the Australian Advertising Standards Board.

It has ruled that popular social networking site Facebook is not only a platform for people to communicate via, but also an advertising medium. As a result of the ruling, Australian businesses will now have to ensure that the material posted on their brand pages on the site isn’t racist, sexist or factually inaccurate, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported.

Comments made by fans of Smirnoff on its Facebook page were deemed by the watchdog to be adverts, meaning that they therefore must adhere to consumer protection laws, as well as the industry’s self-regulatory codes.

Many huge companies use the social media site in order to advertise and get free referrals.

Although the ruling is limited to brands in Australia, its impact could be far-reaching if advertising boards across the world adopt a similar stance to the comments made on brand’s Facebook pages.

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