Fake bloggers to be exposed

PR professionals who pose as customers to blog for clients could soon find themselves named and shamed by Trading Standards, and even face civil court proceedings.

A media and entertainment law firm this week warned the PR industry that ‘flogging’ (fake blogging) is likely to be made illegal when the EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive passes into UK law on 31 December 2007.

The directive prohibits ‘unfair commercial practices’, including ‘falsely claiming or creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession or falsely representing oneself as a consumer’.

Edelman last year apologised for ‘failing to be transparent’ on the identity of bloggers writing about client Wal-Mart (PRWeek, 20 October 2006).

The draft UK legislation will not be released for around a month, but acc­ording to Michael Simkins Solicitors’s partner Nicola Mc­C­ormick, ‘this prohibition will be directly translated into UK legislation’.

Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading will police the UK legislation. They could decide to name transgressors, and to pursue them through the courts if necessary.

There will even be potential for criminal action for ‘certain breeches’.

Once the directive passes into UK legislation, McCormick believes a number of costly civil cases are likely to take place, to better define the terms of the legislation.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Max Clifford trial jury finishes sixth day of deliberations

Max Clifford trial jury finishes sixth day of deliberations

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has been sent home and will reconvene tomorrow morning for a seventh day of deliberations.

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Analysis: Fishburn chiefs keep eyes on future despite mounting departures

Fishburn's management have defended their reinvention of the 23-year-old agency amid industry mutterings, fed by a series of director-level departures, about the direction in which it is going.

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

EasyJet aimed to break the world record for the highest ever theatrical performance for Shakespeare's 450th birthday yesterday with the Reduced Shakespeare Company performing on a flight from Gatwick to Verona.

Top PRs to gather in Barcelona for inaugural PRWeek Global Congress

Top PRs to gather in Barcelona for inaugural PRWeek Global Congress

Senior executives from IBM, Nestlé, Vedanta, GE, Cargill, Philips and Allianz will be among the speakers at PRWeek's first Global Congress.