B.C. mining company fined $35,000 for ads disguised as journalism

A British Columbia lithium mining company has been fined $35,000 for misleading advertising.

In 2017, Bearing Lithium Corp. and then-CEO Jeremy Arthur William Poirier published an advertisement on newswires and websites that deliberately neglected to note that it was promoted content.

“The infomercial was written in the style of a news article designed to look and read like objective journalistic content. However, none of the broadcasts revealed that the infomercial was published on Bearing’s behalf,” says a July 22 settlement agreement between the company and the BC Securities Commission.

The company additionally paid for 19 social media influencers to promote its content on Twitter, LinkedIn, investFeed, iHub and Facebook. Again, it appeared as news rather than an advertisement.

Under the Securities Act, anyone engaged in investor relations activities must clearly and prominently disclose when they post promotional material. Bearing Lithium Corp shares are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange.

In the settlement agreement, she and Poirier admit having violated the Act and agree to pay $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.

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