Published in IN THE KNOW: LEGAL EASE [in the Ad Club of Phoenix newsletter, June 2013]
Conclusion of New FTC Guide on Disclosures
The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") has broad powers to regulate and monitor all advertisements for goods and services (with the exception of a few industries such as banking and aviation)-advertisements in any medium whatsoever, including Internet and social media promotions. Under long-standing FTC statutes, regulations and policy, all marketing claims must be true, accurate, not misleading or deceptive, and supported by sound scientific or factual research. Often, in order to "cure" a potentially deceptive claim, a disclaimer or a disclosure is required, e.g., "The following blogs are paid reviews."
Recently, on March 12, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission published a revised version of its 2000 guide known as Dot Com Disclosures, after a two-year process. The new FTC staff guidance, .com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising, "takes into account the expanding use of smartphones with small screens and the rise of social media marketing. It also contains mock ads that illustrate the updated principles." See the FTC's press release regarding its Dot Com Disclosures guidance and the 53-page guide itself. I noted with some amusement that the FTC ends this press release and others with: "Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. . ."
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