The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) could be granted new powers to regulate marketing messages that appear on company websites and "non-paid for space" on the internet such as social networks under a new proposal from the Advertising Association.

It has put its recommendation to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which draws up the non-broadcasting Advertising Code administered by the ASA.

The association said paid marketing communications online, such as search engine marketing and pay per click ads – are already covered by the CAP code.

"Contrary to general understanding, much advertising online is already in remit and there’s a very high level of compliance with the existing rules," said Advertising Association chief operating officer Rae Burdon.

Extending industry self-regulation to areas like business websites and social media will "increase protection for consumers and children".

The ASA is the independent watchdog for advertising, including television commercials, print and press ads, posters and sponsored search.

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