Improved protection of consumers against hidden advertisements in social media. This is the object of a new collaboration between the Nordic consumer ombudsmen. The Danish Consumer Ombudsman is soon to publish a range of advice to bloggers on how they can ensure compliance with the rules of the Danish Marketing Practices Act.

It is an increasing cross-border problem in the Nordic countries that blogs and status updates on social media contain marketing even though it is not explicitly stated that the blog or update is in fact marketing.

Coordinated efforts against hidden advertisements

In a joint press release, the Nordic consumer ombudsmen state that they will in future combine their efforts against hidden advertisements. The object of the Nordic collaboration is to ensure improved and more effective efforts against hidden advertisements in social media. 

Lawyers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Denmark will meet during the summer with a view to preparing a joint position on hidden advertisements.

The Marketing Practices Act already today contains a general prohibition against hidden advertisements, meaning advertisements which on the face of it do not look like advertisements.

The Danish Consumer Ombudsman has for quite some time focused on hidden advertisements and is about to publish a range of advice to bloggers on how they can make sure that they are in compliance with the rules of the Marketing Practices Act. Bloggers and other players on the social media may consequently have to adjust the way in which they advertise or mention products, etc., on social media.

Recently, the Danish Consumer Ombudsman in a specific decision held that email correspondence involving three emails between a company (via an advertising agency) and a blogger amounted to an agreement stating that the blogger was to refer to one of the company’s products on the blogger’s blog/Instagram. As the blog post had not been labelled advertisement, the post constitutes a hidden advertisement contrary to the rules of the Marketing Practices Act.

Violation of the rules of the Marketing Practices Act may result in injunctions, orders for removal and in certain cases also in fines.