A recent tweet is creating a bit of unease in the minds of industry analysts, due to the blurring of the lines between native advertising and genuine content. Most publications make it very clear what is an ad and what isn’t, even if that advertising is “native” meaning it looks like it could be same type of content that is on the site. Buzzfeed, a fun but noteworthy site that has both fun, random listicle type of content, and news articles that keep up with current event, also has a large portion of its content that is “native advertising.” One recent native ad was a listicle that was sponsored by the cleaning products brand Windex, and was a cross advertising initiative with the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. This is all well and good. The post clearly says that Windex is the “brand publisher,” and the listicle pokes fun at the way some of the characters in the movie like to use Windex. However, a strange thing happened soon after the listicle was published. It got tweeted by the Associated Press.
Now, when the AP tweeted it, they did say that it was an ad, but what business does the AP have with tweeting ads? The Associated Press is a highly respected news source that typically stays out of the business of anything that has to do with advertising. Well this tweet seems quite surprising, you might be shocked to know that the AP has actually been doing sponsored tweets since 2013. It’s a little fishy because Buzzfeed didn’t give permission for the AP to tweet the listicle, nor did the AP really need the permission. People can tweet whatever they want, after all. The situation seems to be in a grey area and most people don’t have all the details. Just make sure you look for signs that content is branded native advertising or not when reading things on the net.
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