Social Media “Updates” as Ads

Updates in social media – think Tweets, Facebook status updates, Pinterest posts, Instagram comments, etc. – are marked by informality and space or format restrictions. Such media isn’t designed for lengthy disclaimers or caveats, making it hard – if not impossible – to comply with detailed rules around advertising disclosures, disclaimers and records retention.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, there’s an easy way to solve this problem:  don’t use social media as an outbound marketing tool.  

If you avoid the “sales pitch” messages – which are at best ineffective, and at worst also ethically-challenged – you aren’t engaging in commercial speech and the advertising rules thus don’t apply.

Not sure what constitutes marketing vs. non-marketing in social media?  This California ethics opinion[ref]Formal Opinion No. 2012-186[/ref] is notable for a) providing specific examples of both and b) getting the commercial speech analysis fundamentally right.