Nordic consumer agencies investigating Facebook

The combined Nordic  consumer agencies are investigating whether advertising laws have been broken on the social networking website, Facebook.

There are, apparently, examples of people ‘recommending’ (or ‘liking’) certain products or services and getting paid for doing so.

The Icelandic Consumer Agency is working alongside its counterpart agencies in the other Nordic countries in an investigation into online advertising practices — especially on Facebook. The investigation is said to be at an advanced stage, RUV reports.

The Agency’s director, Tryggvi Axelsson, explains that he and his colleagues have received complaints about online advertising and marketing (especially on Facebook) claiming that products and services are being deliberately mis-sold or advertised in ways that potentially contravene the law.

Many people are familiar with the concept of ‘liking’ or ‘recommending’ all sorts of things on Facebook. “It looks as though it is a simple recommendation by an individual sitting at home, but it might be that he/she is working to advertise the product in question and is being paid for doing so. And of course suspicions are raised in many cases that it is in fact professional (paid) advertising being put across in this manner,” Axelsson says.

He also says that the Consumer Agency has received complaints whereby people point to cases of prizes or other incentives being promised to Facebook users who ‘recommend’ or ‘like’ a given product or service and where the promised prizes are not distributed.

The investigation does not appear to be about Facebook itself; but rather the way other companies and individuals use the website.

The Icelandic Consumer Agency website (here) allows people to submit anonymous complaints and tip-offs in English and Icelandic.

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