Singapore advertising rules to come for social media marketing and bloggers

Posed photo of a person using the computer.
Posed photo of a person using the computer. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - There are currently no rules in Singapore for advertising online or on social media tools, such as blogs.

Now, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) has drafted guidelines for this sector and is seeking public input.

The new guidelines, called the Digital and Social Media Advertising Guidelines, stipulate that online and social media advertisers must comply with the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP) that print advertisements must follow. This includes rules for honesty and decency.

The new guidelines also establish levels of disclosure required of sponsored messages that appear on blogs and social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Marketers will be required to make sponsored messages distinguishable from personal opinion and editorial content in their posts, and disclose any commercial relationships.

Marketers also need to be transparent about fees.

"After an extensive study and some inputs from various industry players, ASAS has drawn up the draft Digital and Social Media Advertising Guidelines, in order to address the challenges created by such advertisements," said a statement from ASAS released on Monday (Dec 7). The guidelines draw reference from similar codes of conduct already established in places such as Australia and Britain.

The period of consultation is from now to Jan 8, 2016. Interested parties can submit written comments on the guidelines to no later than 5pm on Jan 8.

Submissions can also be sent in by post to ASAS at 170 Ghim Moh Road, Ulu Pandan Community Building, #05-01, Singapore 279621.