The dangers of social media ads

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Al-Riyadh

TO what extent does an advertising company bear the responsibility for published promotion material? What if a newspaper or TV channel placed an advertisement that is harmful to the consumer or society in general?

Who is responsible for the content of such advertisements, and whom the consumers can refer to?

It is impossible for any advertisement platform, whether a newspaper or a TV channel, to authenticate the validity of the content in an advertisement, so the responsibility falls on more than one department.

Newspapers, as a platform for publishing advertisements, follow the rules and regulations of the Ministry of Media. Since the advertiser is a businessman, he or she comes under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce. Since the consumer may be exposed to some danger by using a certain product that was advertised in the mass media, then without doubt the only authority that will deal with the case is the Justice Department.

With the spread of social media, which has taken a very good share of the advertisement pie, there is a new problem in the horizon. One of the accounts on Twitter published an advertisement for a fast food restaurant. The account displayed a variety of sandwiches. One of the followers responded by retweeting previous posts on the same account that warned consumers against eating such food. The man behind the Twitter account gave up his ethics to earn money by placing the advertisement for the fast food restaurant.

There are two sides to this issue — one legal and the other ethical. It is difficult to correct the reputation of a big media establishment if it committed fraud or compromised its ethical principles. Its value and position in the market is always linked with its adherence to professional standards. Advertising on social media raises a question mark in this regard. Maybe adhering to ethical standards is not important to the owners of social media accounts. For them the money generated from any advertisement is much more important than moral values.

The more the reputation of these people grows in the market, the more companies will turn to them for promoting their product and services. These people will make huge amounts of money and soon disappear from the scene, leaving the field open to other players. For them, this is an aggressive race to make money.

How is it possible for the owner of a social media account, who is not known in person, to sign with companies huge financial deals that might pose health and even security hazards to society in the total absence of supervision under a legal umbrella?

Despite so many complaints and observations, advertising on social media is not organized by any regulations. In case a person decides to act foolish and becomes so famous on social media, he or she can use their accounts for advertising. What criteria such a person needs to follow and under what legal umbrella?


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