Category Archives: Federal Trade Commission

Subscribe to Federal Trade Commission RSS Feed

Investing Under the Influence? SEC Issues Warning Letters to Celebrities and Social Influencers

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a warning to celebrities and social influencers who use social media to encourage consumers to invest and/or purchase stocks. Recent celebrity endorsements for investment in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) were highlighted as examples in the SEC’s warning. In the future, if celebrities and social influencers … Continue Reading

KDW Ad Law Presents “Advertising Under The Influence: Rules of the Road For Your Company’s Next Influencer Campaign” via Webinar on Thursday, November 9, at Noon Eastern

Social media influencers help drive consumer engagement with the brands they love. Better reviews, more “likes,” and thousands of re-tweets can all add up to a bigger bottom line and greater insight into what sells and what doesn’t. When the line between advertising and objective content isn’t made clear, though, it can also prompt legal … Continue Reading

House Antitrust Subcommittee Explores the Role of Antitrust Law in Net Neutrality

On November 1, 2017 the House Antitrust Law Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the role of federal agencies in preserving an open Internet. The core question discussed at the hearing was whether current antitrust law is sufficient to ensure net neutrality absent FCC rules. The panelists—including FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and Commissioner Terrell … Continue Reading

FTC Issues Enforcement Policy on Collection and Use of Voice Recordings of Children Under COPPA

On Monday, the FTC issued an Enforcement Policy Statement stating that the Commission will not take action against operators that collect an audio file of a child’s voice as a replacement for written words, such as for translation into text, without first obtaining parental consent, provided the file is retained only for the brief time … Continue Reading

Trump To Nominate Competition-Focused Simons for FTC Chair, CP-Focused Chopra for Commissioner; Reports of Philips for Additional Seat

After months of speculation among the consumer protection and antitrust bars, Trump announced today his intention to nominate former Director of the Bureau of Competition and current Paul Weiss partner Joseph Simons as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.  Trump also announced his plan to nominate Rohit Chopra, currently a senior fellow at the Consumer … Continue Reading

FTC’s “Made in USA” Enforcement On Pace With Prior Years

In a keynote address at the National Advertising Division conference earlier this month, Mary Engle, Associate Director in the Advertising Practices Division of the FTC, included “Made in USA” as among the agency’s current enforcement priorities.   The FTC’s interest in U.S. origin claims is nothing new, but these claims have garnered considerable regulatory attention in … Continue Reading

Moonlight Slumber Says “Goodnight” to Misleading and Unsubstantiated “Organic” Advertising Claims After Settlement with FTC

In its first case challenging “organic” claims, the FTC announced a settlement with Moonlight Slumber, LLC  resolving charges that the company misrepresented or could not support a variety of environmental and health-related claims about its baby mattresses. Misleading and Unsubstantiated Claims. The FTC’s complaint asserts that Moonlight advertised its baby mattresses as “organic,” “natural,” “hypoallergenic,” … Continue Reading

What Does Tweeeeeting Mean for Advertisers?

This week, the news broke that tweets are likely getting longer.  Twitter plans to extend the maximum length of a tweet from 140 to 280 characters, and has already rolled this feature out to selected users.  What are the implications for advertisers, especially those struggling to cope with the need to disclose material connections to … Continue Reading

FTC Takes Action Against Social Media Influencers

This morning, the FTC announced that it had reached a settlement in its first-ever complaint against individual social media influencers and that it had sent warning letters to other prominent influencers. In addition, the FTC announced that it had updated previous guidance on influencer campaigns. Settlement The settlement involves Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell, owners … Continue Reading

“Free Speech in the Fog of Scientific Uncertainty” by Professor Jane Bambauer

In the following article authored by University of Arizona Law Professor Jane Bambauer, the professor makes a compelling argument that FTC/FDA regulation of health claims should focus on situations  where the government has compelling evidence of actual harm.   Professor Bambauer offers an opinion that high standards for health benefit claims can effectively silence commercial speech … Continue Reading

Will the FTC’s Deception Evidence Fall Short? Court to Rule in DirecTV Case

U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. said Friday that the court would pause the trial to consider whether the FTC presented sufficient evidence to support its allegations that DirecTV misled consumers by failing to adequately disclose the terms of its two-year subscription and introductory pricing offer.  The judge instructed attorneys for DirecTV to file … Continue Reading

DirecTV and FTC Face Off in Federal Court Over Deceptive Pricing Claims; FTC Seeking $4 Billion in Equitable Relief

A bench trial began this week to resolve allegations by the FTC that DirecTV misled millions of consumers about the actual costs of its subscriptions.  According to the FTC, DirecTV should be required to pay $3.95 billion dollars to compensate consumers for failing to disclose that it would raise its monthly subscription price after a … Continue Reading

Consumer Groups Push for More Regulation of Influencers

In November, we posted that four consumer groups had sent letters to FTC, encouraging the agency to investigate and bring enforcement actions regarding the use of influencers on Instagram. In April, the FTC responded by sending more than 90 letters to companies and influencers, reminding the recipients of their legal obligations. Now, the consumer groups … Continue Reading

FTC Settles With Lead Generation Firm For Illegally Selling Consumer Data, False Data Security Promises

The FTC announced last week a settlement with Blue Global Media, LLC  and its CEO Christopher Kay.  The company operated 38 Internet domains that solicited online loan applications from consumers.  The applications collected extensive sensitive personal information, including social security numbers, bank routing numbers, credit scores, and incomes. The company represented to consumers it would … Continue Reading

Summer Road Trippin’: The FTC and NHTSA Workshop on Connected Cars

On June 28, the FTC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) brought together a variety of stakeholders including regulators, automakers, software companies, and consumer groups to discuss connected cars, including current innovations and challenges in the field of data privacy. Acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen opened the day by asserting that regulators will need … Continue Reading

Rules Are Made to Be ….Reformed: FTC Announces Regulatory Reform Measures

As part of the FTC’s ongoing review of the needs, costs, and benefits of regulations, the agency recently announced it is reviewing the following rules: The Picture Tube Rule requires manufacturers to base screen size measurements on the horizontal measure of the viewable area, unless the alternative method of measurement is clearly disclosed. This rule … Continue Reading

FTC Submits Comments on IoT Device Security to NTIA Working Group

On Monday, the FTC submitted comments to the draft National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) guidance intended to improve Internet of Things (IoT) device security and increase consumer transparency. While recognizing the benefits (and proliferation) of IoT devices, the Commission’s comments caution that such benefits can only be realized when device manufacturers both incorporate – … Continue Reading

Lessons from the World of Trampoline Marketing

Last year, we wrote about an NAD case involving trampoline marketing. The Trampoline Safety website featured reviews designed to help buyers purchase a trampoline. But unless website visitors looked closely at a disclosure at the bottom of the site, they probably wouldn’t have realized that trampolines that had received the highest ratings were made by … Continue Reading

Bill Potentially Impacting “Made in USA” Claims Undergoing Committee Review

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has scheduled a reading this week of the proposed S. 118 Reinforcing American-Made Products Act of 2017.   The bill proposes to amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to require the Federal Trade Commission’s regulation of the labeling of products as “Made … Continue Reading

Judge Upholds FTC Staff Opinion that Avatar Calls are Prerecorded Messages under TSR

Yesterday, a D.C. district court upheld a recent opinion letter issued by FTC staff that extended robocalling restrictions to telemarketing calls that use so-called soundboard technology or “avatars.”  This technology generally allows a live agent to communicate with a call recipient by playing recorded audio snippets instead of using his or her own live voice. … Continue Reading

FTC Staff Reminds Brands and Influencers About Disclosure Requirements

In November, we posted that four consumer groups had sent letters to FTC, encouraging the agency to investigate and bring enforcement actions regarding the use of influencers on Instagram. In what may be a response to that encouragement, the FTC just announced that it had sent more than 90 letters to companies and influencers, reminding the recipients … Continue Reading

NetSpend Settles FTC Charges, Resolving Allegations that it Deceived Consumers over Access to Prepaid Funds

Last week the FTC announced that it had reached a settlement with NetSpend over allegations that NetSpend deceived consumers by promising “immediate access” with “guaranteed approval” to money loaded on its general purpose reloadable cards.  Approved 2-1 with a vote by then-Commissioner Ramirez before her resignation, the order prohibits NetSpend from making misrepresentations about the … Continue Reading

FTC Highlights Deep-Sixing of FCC Privacy Rules in Bid for 9th Circuit Rehearing

In support of its request for an en banc rehearing of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel decision in FTC v. AT&T over the jurisdictional boundaries between the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) authority over phone companies, broadband providers, and other common carriers, the FTC sent a letter to the Court … Continue Reading
LexBlog