Image: FTC

The Federal Trade Commission shared a press release earlier this week detailing its proposal to strengthen advertising guidelines against fake and manipulated reviews, an initiative driven by the apparent increase of influencers and companies shilling products to customers by “posting fake positive reviews or manipulating reviews by suppressing bad ones” over social media. Among the proposals that the FTC is seeking public comment on is an update to the agency’s Endorsement Guides, something that was enacted in 1980 to “provide guidance to businesses and others to ensure that advertising using endorsements or testimonials is truthful.” One of the biggest concerns that the FTC has regards child-directed advertising; a public event will be held later this year to help determine “children’s capacity at different ages and developmental stages to recognize and understand advertising content and distinguish it from other content and the need for and effectiveness of disclosures to children.”

“We’re updating the guides to crack down on fake reviews and other forms of misleading marketing, and we’re warning marketers on stealth advertising that targets kids.” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Whether it’s fake reviews or influencers who hide that they were paid to post, this kind of deception results in people paying more money for bad products and services, and it hurts honest competitors.”

The Federal Trade Commission is considering changes to tighten its guidelines for advertisers against posting fake positive reviews or manipulating reviews by suppressing bad ones—and warns social media platforms about inadequate disclosure tools. The FTC is seeking public comment on the proposed updates to its Endorsement Guides, which reflect the new ways that advertisers now reach consumers to promote products and services, including through social media.

In addition, the FTC also has proposed adding a new section highlighting that child-directed advertising is of special concern and that children may react differently than adults to endorsements in advertising or related disclosures. In order to provide further guidance, the FTC plans to hold a public event on October 19, 2022, focusing specifically on children’s capacity at different ages and developmental stages to recognize and understand advertising content and distinguish it from other content and the need for and effectiveness of disclosures to children.

Source: FTC

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4 comments

  1. Pretext and bs... The real reason is curtailing speech and freedom on the internet. They just can't be honest about it like in other countries.
  2. Pretext and bs... The real reason is curtailing speech and freedom on the internet. They just can't be honest about it like in other countries.
    That seems to be a reach. The internet is mostly borderless anyway, so it's not as if this is an US domestic issue.

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