McDonald's rapped by Australian regulators over spam

McDonald's sign
Image caption McDonald's has been accused of spamming by Australian regulators

McDonald's Australia has been warned by media regulators over sending out spam marketing messages from their website.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority said emails had been sent to friends of users of the Happy Meal website without the friends' consent.

The "send to friends" facility did not allow recipients to unsubscribe, in breach of Australia's Spam Act, it said.

McDonald's has since removed the facility from its website.

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) chairman Chris Chapman said: "This case should alert businesses that they must think carefully before using 'friend-get-friend' marketing.

"When sending your marketing messages, you must make sure that there is consent from the actual person who is going to receive your message. You can't just assume consent has been given," he added.

The ACMA said marketing technique was "one of the most common types of complaint" it dealt with. Consumers often wondered how a particular business obtained their personal email address, it added.

The ACMA in a blog has warned that sending unwanted messages to customers could damage a business's reputation.

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