There is no doubt that social media are very powerful tools for business to build up their reputation. However, it is also a very easy tool to be abused by companies if they are consumed by greed. Commonly, companies have to face the issues of copyright infringement, defamation, confidential information and reputation risks due to wrongly use of social media.
In 2009, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought forward proceedings in the Federal Court against Allergy Pathway (AP) Private Ltd and its sole director Paul Keir, on the account of false allegations about AP allergen diagnostic products. AP had to provide undertakings that it would not make more false representations of their products.
However, the ACCC once again brought charges onto the Federal Court against AP in 2010, finding them in breach of previous undertakings and engaged in contempt of Court by publishing the following statements:
(A) Statements and links to statements on their own website and Social Media Pages;
(B) Testimonials posted on the AP website and Twitter pages written by clients;
(C) Client Testimonials on AP’s “Facebook Wall” and;
(D) AP’s answers to queries posted on its “Facebook Wall”.
AP objected to being responsible for statements written by their clients that were posted on its Social Media Pages. However, The ACCC believed that although the statement has been made by a third party, AP is responsible to monitor if those published statements were in violation of its previous undertakings as well.
The Judge of the case ruled AP responsible for breaching previous undertakings in contempt of the Court for a penalty of $7500 within 90 days and to publish corrective advertising.
This case really shows that enterprises have to be really careful what they put up, or even what others put up on their websites so that it isn’t misleading to other consumers. The enterprise itself has the responsibility of its own website, and its up to them to monitor comments left on their web page.
So, please do not leave misleading comments on my blog! =D