Firm fined for Facebook, Twitter reviews

The ACCC has succeeded in having a company fined over allegedly misleading and deceptive claims made in client comments on its Facebook and Twitter pages

The ACCC has had a court fine Allergy Pathway for allegedly allowing misleading reviews of its products to be published on its website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The Federal Court fined Allergy Pathway and its director, Paul Keir, $7500 each for breaking undertakings previously made to the court.

While the company had not written testimonials posted on areas including its Facebook wall, the court found that by deciding not to remove them it had effectively become the publisher.

Allergy Pathway, previously known as Advanced Allergy Elimination, undertook in August 2009 not to represent that it can accurately test for allergens or cure or treat any allergies, nor that the treatments it offers are safe or low-risk.

The client reviews were found to be in breach of these undertakings.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said the ruling underscored the fact that companies have to be careful when using social media for marketing purposes.

“This outcome confirms that any business that decides to leave public testimonials or other comments on their Facebook and Twitter pages will be held responsible if they are false, misleading or deceptive,” he said.

The court has also ordered that Allergy Pathway publish corrective advertising, and that the company and Keir should be restrained from engaging in similar conduct for a further three years.

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