With everyone calling for more rules around paid advertising on social media, South Africa’s Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) is proposing new rules for social media ads to protect users and consumers when it comes to advertising on social media. For the first time, South African brands and influencers will be made to disclose ads and goods exchanges.

A number of advertising bodies like the ASA have recently drafted guidelines for an advertising code of practice to help combat issues like misleading content and paid-for advertising that people from across the globe are grappling with. The ARB’s draft policy aims to promote ethical conduct by marketers and influencers across all social media.
“The vision is that these regulations will be carried in the code of advertising practice, so they are going to apply to advertising content,” said Gail Schimmel, ARB CEO; “The IAB is the association for digital advertising agencies and publishers and they have driven this process.” Some of the proposed guidelines for social advertising in South Africa include the following:
    • Social media adverts must not contain deceptive, false or misleading content and messaging should be responsible and authentic
    • Brands are required to provide the influencer with enough info about whatever they’re about to endorse for sufficient understanding. It states “a brand should never mislead the influencer with the objective of having the influencer write an overly positive recommendation”
    • Influencers are also expected to disclose their involvement with the particular marketer.
    • In another section of the terms, it states that marketers are required to have a written contract with any paid influencers that include details of the brief and conditions of payment
  • Provide the influencer with the required information for the influencer to endorse the product or service with sufficient understanding of it
The new set of guidelines will bring South Africa in line with the likes of the UK, having been guided by the country. The ARB is hoping it will become a self-regulatory system and that everyone will buy into it so there will be no need for the government to step in.
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