AUSTRALIA’S largest online publisher has been fined $3.5 million for allegedly misleading readers about the role of fake news in its marketing campaigns.
Fairfax Media reported last month that its ads and news articles were likely to mislead readers about what they could expect to read if they clicked on a link to a fake article.
The fine from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, announced on Thursday, comes after a lengthy investigation by the watchdog.
The ACCC said that it had been concerned by the misleading nature of the advertisements and “serious concerns” about Fairfax’s content.
Fair to say, we’re all aware of the power of the Internet to spread fake news and misinformation.
But the ACCC’s investigation has revealed the company may have made a number of misleading claims about how readers would benefit from the advertising campaign.
In a blog post in August last year, Fairfax Media said it had used “tens of millions” of words in its ads, news and editorial content in an attempt to “help consumers to decide which articles to read”.
Fairfax had been “aware of significant claims and misinformation” that appeared on its website, according to the ACCc, and “took steps to correct these”.
“In doing so, it identified those claims and misrepresentations, including by taking steps to update and correct its website and content, including on its News section,” the ACCco said in a statement.
“The ACCc is satisfied that Fairfax has corrected these issues.”
The ACCs investigation revealed that some of the misinformation appeared in the following spots:The advertisements were designed to be relevant to a particular audience.
For example, the ad for an article about the dangers of smoking in a public swimming pool, which said “It’s the safest way to get a nicotine fix,” was meant to appeal to people who smoke and were concerned about the risk of lung cancer.
The article was “likely to be misleading” because “it does not explicitly mention that smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer,” the commission said.
It added that the ad was also “likely” to mislead because it did not say “all smoking is bad” or that the health benefits of tobacco-free smoking outweighed the risks.
The advertisement for an editorial about a controversial new law, which “should not have been passed” in Australia, was designed to appeal “to the many who disagree with its provisions” and to “the many who do not believe the legislation is justified”.
Fair to be fair, I think people do want to be informed and it is important to have accurate information.
But we also have to be clear about the risks and the benefits of smoking.
Fair to be true to our values of fair dealing, accuracy and honesty.
The commission said Fair to Be Fair was not the “only, or only appropriate” explanation for how Fair to Fair advertisements appeared.
But it said Fair To Be Fair could not be the only explanation because the ad had a different context, including that it was “relevant to an audience that does not know the relevant facts”.
“The advertiser should have provided a clear and accurate explanation of what that context was,” the regulator said.
Fair To Be True, as it is known in the US, is a slogan that is widely associated with conservative political views.
The ad, for instance, is likely to have been designed to persuade people to buy the newspaper in order to support a conservative candidate or cause.
“This ad is likely not to have a negative impact on the reader’s opinion of the advertiser’s business,” the ad said.
“In fact, the reader may be more likely to purchase the newspaper because of the ad.”
Fair to Be True has been used in several other ads, according, including the one for an anti-immigration campaign for US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In an earlier advertisement, the ads for the National Security Agency were designed “to highlight the importance of the agency’s mission” and “to appeal to the many people who disagree” with the NSA’s surveillance programs.
“In fact,” the advertising said, “there is no evidence the NSA has collected any foreign intelligence.”
The ads for National Health Service were likely designed to influence the public on issues such as climate change, the commission noted.
The ads were designed in an “appropriate and relevant context” and were not likely to deceive consumers, the regulator found.
Fair’s chief executive, David Smith, said the ads had been subject to a “very thorough and robust” investigation by Fair.
“It is not fair to mislead consumers when we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and millions of hours on this advertising campaign,” he said.
Smith said Fair was committed to “fair and honest advertising” and that the ads “were designed to help Australians make informed decisions about their health care.”
“As a result of our investigation, we have taken steps to prevent future fraudulent claims,” he added.
“We have removed the ad from the website and are taking all necessary actions to remove the ads from our websites