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AB-Computer-Repair-Malibu-Data-Recovery-ServicesShould athletes and entertainers be able to tweet endorsements for the brands that sponsor them without clearly labeling those posts as advertisements?

The United Kingdom’s advertising watchdog says Nike crossed a line this year when two English soccer stars tweeted messages advertising Nike’s “Make It Count” campaign but didn’t tell followers the messages were ads.

Here’s one of the tweets in questions, from Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney:

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshire posted a similar tweet that also used the #makeitcount hashtag and directed followers back to the Nike site.

The UK’sAdvertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint from an unnamed source that it was not clear enough that Rooney and Wilshire’s tweets were advertisements, according to a Guardian report. A subsequent investigation found the messages were “agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team,” the ASA said.

“We considered that the Nike reference was not prominent and could be missed,” the ASA said. “We considered there was nothing obvious in the tweets to indicate they were Nike marketing communications.”

Using a hashtag such as #ad is one example of how the tweets could have been more clearly labeled for Twitter users quickly scrolling through dozens of tweets, the ASA continued.

It’s the first time the ASA has banned a Twitter campaign.

Earlier this year, the ASA investigated Snickers for promotional tweets by soccer star Rio Ferdinand and model Katie Price. Snickers was cleared of any wrongdoing, however.

Mashable has contacted Twitter for comment on the ASA’s ban of the Nike campaign, but so far received no response.

At the Wired Biz Conference in May, however, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was asked about celebrities such as Paris Hilton selling tweets for thousands of dollars and starring the end of the posts with “*ad.”

Costolo answered in part that, “we say in our terms of service very clearly, ‘Users own their own tweets, period.’ So if that’s what people want to do with their tweets, they can go ahead and do that. And we’re not going to say, ‘Users own their own tweets except if they have a relationship with some third party, etc. So, if people want to go do that, then they can do that. If their followers respect that, great.”

But when those ads aren’t clearly labeled, it seems, the issue becomes stickier.

Do you think celebrity tweeters should be required to clearly label promotional posts — or is that something that should be left between them, their sponsors and their followers? Share your opinion in the comments. AB Computer Repair Malibu onsite data recovery services, call for prompt wireless network installation and virus removal services.

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