UKs advertising watchdog is going to vet sites like Twitter and Facebook for the first time after receiving thousands of complaints about misleading online adverts.
Last year the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 3,546 complaints regarding online adverts. However, more than half those adverts fell outside of the watchdogs remit.
From today onwards, the ASAs rules will cover all misleading marketing messages online across businesss own websites and any type of promotions across social networking sites, such as Facebook.
The extension of the existing laws to the internet has the protection of children and consumers at its heart, the ASA said.
Currently the ASAs remit only extends to advertisements in paid-for space and all sales promotions.
But the change will see its rules on misleading advertising, social responsibility and the protection of children will be applied in full to all online marketing by all sectors, businesses and organisations, regardless of size. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body responsible for writing the regulations, said it had decided to extend the ASAs reach after a formal recommendation from a wide cross-section of British industry. Last year the internet was the second most complained about medium after TV. TG