Fake blogs to become illegal in UK

SimonGeneral4 Comments

Niall Cook points out a story in this week’s UK PR Week magazine – about a piece of European law set to be enacted in the UK at the end of the year.

I haven’t seen the full article as my copy of PR Week doesn’t seem to have arrived yet, but according to Niall:

The directive will apparently prohibit “unfair commercial practices” including “falsely representing oneself as a consumer”.

This would seem to clearly outlaw the practice of fake blogging (flogging). It may well outlaw a number of other ethically dubious practices at the fringe of professional PR practice.

The practice of fake blogging was also outlawed late last year by the UK’s advertising self-regulation body, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), when it ruled on a fake blog produced by radio station talkSPORT. Full details are in my blog post about the ruling.

The forthcoming EU law would seem to add extra legal clout to the ASA’s ruling on future cases similar to the talkSPORT one.

4 Comments on “Fake blogs to become illegal in UK”

  1. Please can you tell me where I can get hold of the details of the new EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive for Fake Blogging? I know the details are published at the end of March, but where can I find a copy of the full details of the new legislation?

  2. Hi Simon, thank’s a lot for the links to the EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, but I couldn’t pin-point which of the 33 page document relates to the Legislation on Fake Blogging. If you have any idea which pages relates to this specific topic please can you point me in the direction of these pages.
    I have passed your blog site onto the other students on my course so you should notice a significant increase in the number of hits and comments posted onto your site. Keep up the good work, your site is invaluable to a PR student.

  3. Thanks for the comment and the promotion Darren.

    The part that’s relevant to blogging is summarised on p11 of the EU document – it doesn’t specifically mention fake blogs, but it does say:

    A commercial practice is misleading if it….in any way, including overall presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer, even if the information is correct

    It would seem a reasonable interpretation to assume this includes producing a fake blog, as well as several other ethically dubious PR practices.

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