Publishers must clearly differentiate native advertising and advertorials from editorial content, and label stories to highlight any commercial arrangement, according to new guidelines from the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau.
The guidelines say publishers must provide “prominently visible visual cues” to flag to readers that the content in front of them is paid for.
The IAB’s public policy manager Alex Stepney told the UK Media Week website that “advertising units which are deliberately designed to replicate the look and feel of editorial content … need to be obvious to consumers”.
Mr Stepney said the guidelines were written to “provide the necessary levels of transparency to consumers and uphold the integrity of online advertising”.
The IAB’s research shows a decrease in reader trust if they can’t clearly see the origin of the content.
The guidelines recommend publishers label native advertising content with phrases such as “paid promotion,” or “brought to you by.”
Some sites have abandoned traditional display ads and instead are using native advertising exclusively, such as BuzzFeed.
The rules are supported by the ISBA, Britain’s advertising association. There will be further guidelines added later in the year.
Cash for comment: magazine charges for posts
A digital magazine of Jewish news and culture has announced it will begin charging users to make comments in a bid to lift the tone of its comments section.
The magazine, Tablet, will ask for $US2 per day to post their thoughts at the foot of a story, or users can elect to pay $18 per month or $180 a year.
In a post published on its website, Tablet’s editor-in-chief Alana Newhouse wrote “the internet … poses challenges to civilised and constructive discussion, allowing vocal … minorities to drag it down”.
“We are not looking to make money, but instead to try to create a standard of engagement likely to turn off many, if not most, of the worst offenders.”
Tablet joins a number of media outlets in making significant changes to its comments section – Popular Science, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters and Bloomberg shut them down completely.
However, there are concerns that moves to limit or discourage commenters can damage a publication’s sense of community.
“If you close off an entire avenue of discussion with your readers, I think you are saying something, which is that only people who are on Twitter and Facebook matter,” said Mathew Ingram, writer for technology site Gigaom, in comments to the New York Observer.
Al-Jazeera journalists face new trial in Egypt
The hopes of one of the journalists imprisoned with now-freed Australian reporter Peter Greste of being deported to Canada have been dashed, after Egyptian officials announced a new trial for him and his colleague would begin on Thursday.
Mohamed Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship and had hoped to be deported to Canada, where he is also a citizen.
Fahmy and fellow journalist Baher Mohamed are charged with reporting false news stories and aiding terrorists, charges which both men deny.
In a statement on Sunday reported by The Guardian, Fahmy’s family said: “Mohamed never requested that he drop his citizenship. The authorities visited him before the appeal hearing on January 1 and made a deal with him to renounce it in return for his freedom, claiming this was the only way out for him and Peter [Greste].
“Now, the general prosecutor is complicating matters even though both the presidency and the prime minister have expressed their desire to let him go as soon as possible. Yes, we are worried and we have been let down by the Canadian government’s conservative approach in the handling of the case.”
Greste arrived home in Brisbane last Thursday after spending 400 days in incarceration, but urged supporters not to forget his colleagues left behind.