FTC Recommends Strengthen Advertising Guidelines Against Fake and Manipulated Reviews |  Lerman Senter PLLC

FTC Recommends Strengthen Advertising Guidelines Against Fake and Manipulated Reviews | Lerman Senter PLLC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is offering to update its information. Guidelines for Using Endorsements and Reviews in Advertising Addressing new marketing methods introduced since Guides It was last updated in 2009. Comments on proposed changes must be made within 60 days of the Federal Register Release.

The fixes define the types of material links that need to be disclosed between approvers and advertisers, define a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure, disallow certain practices already used by advertisers, such as posting false positive reviews and suppressing negative reviews, and explain when influencers and agents will be disclosed. responsible for false statements made in endorsements.

The revisions clarify that marketing and promotional messages can be endorsements, and virtual influencers and computer-generated characters can be endorsements. Tags on social media posts are also considered endorsements.

Revisions provide specific examples of material links and how those links should be described. Examples include a work, family, or personal relationship; to provide paid, discounted and/or free products or services; early access to products; or the chance to appear on television or win an award. Disclosures necessary to allow consumers to assess their importance should clearly state the nature of the links.

to show you how Guides If applicable to affiliate marketing, Revisions provides an example where a blogger independently wrote a product review with embedded links to/from websites where consumers can purchase. If the blogger receives a benefit or compensation, such as a percentage of the sale, when a consumer clicks on the link and purchases the product, the reviewer should clearly and unequivocally disclose the compensation.

Revisions also proposes to clarify that a link does not need to be disclosed when it is understood or expected by all but an insignificant portion of the audience. For example, the FTC noted that if a podcast’s host reads an ad for a product, listeners will likely expect the host to be compensated, so the payment doesn’t need to be disclosed. However, the FTC noted that depending on what was said, the audience may think the host is expressing their own views, in which case the host should actually have those views.

The proposed revisions add a definition of “clear and conspicuous” and explain that the disclosure tools currently used by many social media platforms do not fit the definition. A “clear and conspicuous” statement, “hard to miss (well, easily recognizable) and easily understandable by ordinary consumers.” When the turnover is visual, the description must also be visual; when endorsement is audible, such as in a podcast or radio commercial, the endorsement must also be audible and transmitted in a volume, speed, and cadence so that consumers can easily hear and understand it; and when endorsement is both visual and audible, as in a television or internet advertisement, the description must be both visual and audible.

A “clear and conspicuous” description when viewed in a computer browser but not on a smartphone does not fit the new definition. A social media post with a description over a poorly contrasted image is inappropriate.

held Guides Make it clear that using certain apps in relation to consumer reviews is considered misleading and unfair. These practices include deleting or not posting negative reviews, threatening customers who leave negative reviews, “review gate” (i.e. sending satisfied and dissatisfied customers different ways to encourage positive reviews while avoiding negative reviews), and buying fake reviews.

Liability for Advertisers, Approvers and Agents. held Guides Stating that an advertiser may be liable even where it is not liable for an endorser’s misleading statement. The revisions represent the advertiser’s obligation to provide fake reviews for its product that appear on its own website and third-party review websites. The advertiser is responsible for getting reviews from people who aren’t.bona fide for users and any unfounded claims made in fake reviews.

The revisions include new sections that address the potential liability of endorsers and intermediaries. An endorser may be obligated not to disclose unexpected material connections with an advertiser. Paid endorsers and companies that pay the endorser are potentially liable for social media posts that do not disclose the endorser’s affiliation with the company. Supporters themselves may be held liable for their statements when they make statements that they know or should have known to be deceptive.

Intermediaries such as marketing and PR firms, such as those who ignore the obvious shortcomings of the claims they propagate, disseminate advertisements that do not disclose unexpected material connections, or direct endorsers who fail to make recruitment and necessary disclosures.

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