MCI Response to PQ on Safety Legal Nets for Sponsored Media Content
Parliament Sitting on 7 February 2023
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
41. Miss Rachel Ong: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information what are the legal safety nets for companies and individuals against social media influencers or companies that do not make disclosures on sponsored social media content.
The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS), a self-regulatory body of the advertising industry under the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), promotes ethical advertising in Singapore through the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP).
ASAS’s Guidelines on Interactive Marketing Communication and Social Media further sets out the standards of ethical conduct that are to be adopted by marketers, advertising agencies or media that are involved in social media marketing. This includes social media influencers or companies. The Guidelines stipulate that the disclosures for sponsored content on social media should be clear and prominent. ASAS regularly engages the industry and social media influencers to increase their awareness of these Guidelines. Those who post commercial content without disclosing that they are sponsored are in breach of the Code, and will be asked by ASAS to amend or remove their content. Such advertisers have so far complied to include the disclosure in their content.
The Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) also seeks to protect consumers against unfair practices, including non-disclosures of sponsorship for social media content to the extent that it misleads or deceives consumers in relation to a consumer transaction. Social media influencers or companies that persistently engage in such unfair trade practices could be referred to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) for investigation.
ASAS is in the process of reviewing the SCAP and its Guidelines to ensure they remain relevant in the evolving advertising landscape. Consumers are encouraged to remain vigilant and discerning to make informed choices about products and services that are promoted on social media.