Websites Legal Requirements – ASA Rules Apply to Websites from 1st March 2011

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will be extending its authority to include advertisers’ own marketing communications on their websites and marketing communications in non paid-for space i.e. Facebook and Twitter from the 1st of March 2011.

Advertising Standards Authority

The Advertising Standards Authority is the UK’s independent advertising regulator. It deals with complaints about advertising which breach its CAP Code. The ASA currently only regulates paid-for online advertising on the Internet and has no authority to regulate website content.

From the 1st of March 2011 this will change and the ASA will be responsible for regulating advertisement and marketing communications on a company’s own websites and in other non-paid-for online space under its control. This will cover corporate web presences, official Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. These will all need to comply with the CAP Code.

Also, if you use and incorporate user content on your website this may also need to comply with the CAP Code, particularly if you review such content before it is posted.

Sanctions for Breaches of the Code

In addition to its existing powers, the ASA will be able to:

  • remove with the co-operation of search engines, paid-for links to pages hosting a banned advertisement (e.g. Google’s sponsored links);
  • place paid-for adverts highlighting your non-compliance;
  • publish details of any non-compliant communication and advertiser on an ASA website.

Further Information

Further information will be issued by the ASA in 2011 on the above rules and how in practice these will apply to website content.


Irene Bodle is an IT lawyer specialising in SaaS agreements with over 10 years experience in the IT sector. If you require assistance with any SaaS, ASP, software on demand contracts or any other IT legal issues contact me:

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