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ASA to regulate online ads from next March

Ads on corporate websites, social networks and mobile applications will also have to adhere to the s

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on Monday announced that online ads will come under its purview from 1 March 2011.

Ads on corporate websites, social networks and mobile applications will also have to adhere to the same advertising rules as traditional media, the regulatory body added.

Although the ASA received over 3,500 complaints last year, over half of the ads were outside its purview. Consumers do not differentiate between ads on TV or online, and this ensures that claims online will be subject to the same strict scrutiny of those in traditional media, said an ASA spokesman.

The move aims to keep the "protection of children and consumers at its heart", the ASA added.

The regulatory agency said it will also have the right to remove paid-for search ads and replace it with ASA's own ads to highlight an advertiser's non-compliance.