The Fair Trade Commission has amended the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法) so that online writers are now required to indicate whether they received payment from any companies for any article they write.
The commission said the new regulations came into effect on Thursday after being approved by the Cabinet, adding that violators could be fined between NT$50,000 (US$1,700) and NT$25 million.
“The previous regulations only controlled companies and people who endorsed products. We think that was insufficient to regulate online promotions,” commission spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said by telephone yesterday.
The commission has also broadened the definition of advertisement to include “any method of distributing information to the public,” to be able to include online articles under the new regulations.
Last month, the commission fined Samsung Electronics Co NT$10 million for hiring online writers to promote its products without the writers identifying themselves as employees working for the company’s public relations department.
The commission did not punish the authors in the Samsung case, saying that they earned between NT$10,000 and NT$20,000 for their work and most of them were part-time workers in Samsung’s public relations department, according to the commission.