US FTC Targets Fake Online Reviews, Expanded Liability, With Proposed Endorsement Guides Update
Proposed changes to the FTC’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” depict an agency looking to crack down on fake reviews and suppression of negative ones, tighten its definition of “clear and conspicuous” disclosures, and clarify that advertisers, endorsers, intermediaries and platforms all can be held liable for their endorsement roles.
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The FTC’s final revised Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising address online practices that have grown increasingly prevalent and problematic since the commission last updated the guidelines in 2009. The FTC tackles deceptive product reviews and advises advertisers and endorsers to make social media disclosures “unavoidable,” among other changes.
NAD On InStyle Biossance ‘Article’: Editorial Can Become Advertising When There’s ‘Economic Motivation’
Dotdash Meredith removed an article about Biossance Squalane & Marine Algae Eye Cream from the InStyle website and all other distribution channels for “business reasons independent of the NAD inquiry,” leaving the National Advertising Division to caution the publisher to evaluate its business relationships and processes to avoid misrepresenting advertising content as editorial.
Smarter-reviews.com notes – albeit in faint, small print – its ownership interest in Tru Alchemy Eye Elixir, 2023’s “Top Eye Treatment,” and identifies the ranking on its website as “Sponsored Advertising Content.” Approached by the National Advertising Division about the adequacy of its disclosures, the product review site failed to respond substantively and thus has been referred to the US FTC.