Wicklow Fianna Fail TD Pat Casey has said he is fully supportive of an initiative to regulate advertisements seen on social media sites, such as Facebook.
A recent survey shows that three in four Irish people do not trust ads they encounter on social media sites, while a further six in 10 are dubious about the recommendations they see from “influencers”, most notably celebrity endorsed products.
Speaking on the issue, Casey said he was fully in support of the Social Media Transparency Bill, introduced by his party colleague James Lawless, as a method of effectively regulating social media ads.
“I am fully supportive of my colleague James Lawless’ bill to combat fake news ads on social media platforms such as Facebook.”
“While politics and media are often at odds, a fair and transparent news service is vital to a healthy democracy. Proper labelling on these items should ensure that a balance is struck between free speech and warning about the dangers of so called news which in fact is sinister propaganda,” said Casey.
The survey results were released in the wake of a report from the Advertising Authority of Ireland that revealed a record-breaking number of complaints received in relation to advertising on social media sites.
The most recent figures show that 777 complaints about ads on social media sites were received in 2017, making up 43% of all complaints received by the body, doubling the tally of 22% recorded in 2010.
A spokesperson from the Consumer Protection Commission urged users to contact their helpline if they feel they have been misled by a post they have seen on social media.
“If a consumer feels they have been misled by a blog or social media post, to the extent that it was a major factor in their decision to buy something, they should contact our helpline on 01 402 5555 or 1890 432 432.”
“Should we find evidence of widespread practices which breach consumer protection laws, then we may take appropriate measures up to, and including, enforcement action,” said the spokesperson.