Rather an interesting statement has made its way into the latest iteration of the CIPR’s Social Media Guidelines. According to the section in the Guidelines covering Social Media and the CIPR Code of Conduct:
Uh, sorry? Come again. “[M]embers should be aware that ‘ghosting’ a blog is illegal”. Since when? Well, according to last year’s Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, misleading marketing practices are illegal. But does this really extend to any blog that is ghosted?
Back to the CIPR: “[c]reating fake blogs (‘ghosting’)” is an example of a social media activity that falls under this legislation."
I’m not so sure. Yes, I agree a ghosted blog is disingenuous, bad social media practice and yes, I would agree that a blog purporting to be written by a genuine customer but in reality written by a marketing team would breach the legislation.
But can you go as far as to issue a blanket statement claiming *all* ghosted blogs breach unfair trading regulations? I think it’s unlikely.
So what’s the CIPR’s rational? To be honest, I’m not sure. It always errs on the side of caution, but this is potentially misleading. Interestingly, the statement is a new addition from the original consultation document so maybe they took on advice from someone at the consultation stage.
If they did then great. As usual I blogged my submission which was largely similar to the previous year's and also as usual I didn’t receive any feedback on my submission so I don’t know who submitted recommendations and what changes were made.