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UK regulator proposes crackdown on misleading Facebook and Twitter ads

Matt Brian, @m4tt

While Twitter and Facebook are enjoying returns from their native advertising platforms, it's still not easy to tell if a tweet or status update is actually a company trying to sell you something. It's a practice that the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has become increasingly aware of, so it's begun consulting opinion on whether it should enforce stricter rules on promotional messages shared by financial firms. Blogs, social networks and photo and video services are all in the FCA's crosshairs, as it looks to crack down on companies that rely on misleading messages like "Join us now and we promise you'll make a 758% profit on your first stock investment" to sign up new users.

As expected, some of them have already kicked up a fuss, arguing that character limits make it hard to warn users about adverts. However, the FCA cites accepted methods, like the use of #ad or embedding additional information inside an image, to show how easy it is for them to comply. Interested parties will have until November to show their support (or voice their concerns), with final rules set to be put into force by the end of next year -- great news if you're tired being spammed with offers that always seem too good to be true.

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