When is “paid to tweet” payola? Always? Never?

When is “paid to tweet”, payola? Always? Never?

Are there best practices for disclosure?

For example…

WSJ Headline

According to the 3/19 Wall Street Journal, Telefonica, the biggest ISP in Brazil, will pay comedian Marcelo Tas to mention Telefonica’s new fiber optic ISP services, in his tweets. Mr. Tas is a popular “Jon Stewart type comedian” in Brazil. The deal was put together by Sao Paulo’s digital agency iThink.

“Mr. Tas twitter page will carry a discreet Telefonica logo, ‘because he is not going to hide that he is promoting the product’.”

Wall Street Journal Article

Where are we going with this?

I see that paying Mr. Tas to mention an ISP is “relevant”. Do we call paid endorsement “authentic”?

What should the expectation of disclosure be?  NASCAR wears logos everywhere they can put them.  If I don’t disclose clearly, is it payola? plugola?

We now hear cable news talking head analysts regularly disclose that they are stock holders or paid by a party they are commenting on.

I believe that years ago there was a standard in government and journalism, that even the possible appearance of a conflict of interest would be reason to not make that “engagement”, whatever it was.

Today, I think the standard is “plausible deniability”.

Is there a point at which some tweets become the functional equivalent of telephone solicitation?

And do you care? If there is a buck in it, who can knock it….right?  Caveat Emptor? What do you think?


One Response to When is “paid to tweet” payola? Always? Never?

  1. Mary Coombs says:

    Mr. Tas was transparent in his deal with Telefonica. I think they are making good use of Social Media in their marketing efforts and should be applauded. With marketing budgets being slashed by companies these days, this looks like it’s good use of their dollars. After all, we are talking about it.

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