Category Archives: Social Media

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FTC Updates FAQs for Endorsement Guides, Offers More Guidance on Social Media and Video Endorsements

The FTC recently revised its “What People are Asking” page, a source of informal guidance relating to the FTC’s Endorsement Guides.  The Endorsement Guides were last revised in 2009.  The FAQ revisions are intended to address current advertising and marketing trends, such as the use of Twitter endorsements, “like” buttons, and uploaded videos. The revisions … Continue Reading

Privacy Groups Ask FTC to Investigate Contest Sponsor for Alleged COPPA Violations

Last week, ten privacy groups requested that the FTC open an investigation into a Topps Co. online contest, which they allege violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Specifically, the groups claim that Topps’s #RockThatRock contest collected photos of children under age 13 without obtaining their parents’ consent. Last spring, Topps invited its Facebook, … Continue Reading

FTC Closes an Investigation Involving Reviews by Employees

In previous posts, we’ve noted that if a person who writes a review about a product has a connection to the company that makes the product, that connection should be clearly disclosed. The types of connections that trigger this disclosure requirement include things such as payments, free products, and, of course, employment. According to press … Continue Reading

Kelley Drye Offers Webinar on “Hot Topics in Social Media” July 9 at 2 PM

Social media is a powerful marketing tool. It’s personal, dynamic, and reaches an unlimited number of consumers. But, the value of social media can be tempered by the legal risks. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration have been paying close attention to social media activities by dietary supplement companies and … Continue Reading

Native Advertising Blunder Gets Media Attention

Readers of our blog know that if a company provides people incentives to promote its products, the company needs to ensure those people clearly disclose their relationship to the company. But (for reasons we’re still investigating) not everyone reads this blog, and not everyone is aware of this requirement. Microsoft recently signed a sponsored content … Continue Reading

FTC Attempts to Sharpen the Blurred Lines of Native Ads at Workshop

Yesterday, the FTC held a workshop to discuss legal issues surrounding the blending of ads with other content in digital media — sometimes called “native advertising” or “sponsored content.” From a marketing perspective, one benefit of this strategy is that ads may look more like content and, therefore, attract more consumer attention. But many regulators … Continue Reading

Pinterest Adds Promotions Guidelines to Acceptable Use Policy

Last week, Pinterest added promotions guidelines to their Acceptable Use Policy. According to a post announcing the change, Pinterest will no longer allow promotions that: Suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses them or the promotion Require people to Pin from a selection (like a website or list of Pins) Make people Pin the contest rules … Continue Reading

NAD Decision Holds Important Lessons for Advertising in Social Media

This week, the NAD issued an important decision involving advertising practices in social media. Here are the highlights. eSalon operates a hair-styling blog, and many posts promote the company’s products. Because the blog didn’t have eSalon branding, the NAD was concerned that consumers would view the blog as independent, despite a fine-print disclosure at the … Continue Reading

NY Attorney General Takes Action Against Fake Online Reviews

This morning, New York Attorney General Schneiderman announced that his office had concluded a year-long undercover investigation into the reputation management industry and the practice of posting fake reviews online. Many search engine optimization (“SEO”) companies offer customers online “reputation management” services. During the investigation, the AG learned that some SEO companies perform these services … Continue Reading

Facebook Eases its Guidelines for Promotions

Yesterday, Facebook made it easier for companies to administer sweepstakes, contests, and other promotions on its platform. Previously, Facebook required that all promotions on the platform be administered through apps. Now, promotions may also be administered on Page Timelines. For example, companies can now: Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like … Continue Reading

Florida AG Announces Settlement Involving Consumer Endorsements

Yesterday, the Florida Attorney General announced that her office had reached a settlement with Lifestyle Lift over the company’s advertising practices. Among other things, the AG alleged that the company used testimonials from consumers who had been compensated by the company, without disclosing the compensation. As part of the settlement, Lifestyle Lift agreed to clearly … Continue Reading

New York Times Article Discusses Potential Liability for Celebrity Endorsements

A recent New York Times article discussed the FTC’s scrutiny of companies who engage celebrities to endorse their products in social media. The article serves as a timely reminder that this form of advertising, unless conducted carefully, can result in liability and monetary penalties for the celebrity and the advertiser. The FTC is concerned that … Continue Reading

FTC Closes Investigation Involving a Social Media Promotion

As we’ve posted before, if a company provides incentives to a consumer in order to encourage the consumer to promote the company’s products, the consumer is required to disclose those incentives. It’s not just the consumer’s problem, though. The FTC has stated that a company can be held liable for a consumer’s failure to make … Continue Reading

FTC Closes an Investigation Involving a Social Media Campaign

As we’ve noted in previous posts, if a company provides incentives to a consumer in order to encourage the consumer to promote the company’s products, the consumer is required to disclose those incentives. It’s not just the consumer’s problem, though. The FTC has stated that a company can be held liable for a consumer’s failure … Continue Reading

Pinterest Establishes Business Accounts and Marketing Guidelines

In March, we posted that Pinterest had made changes to its Terms of Service. This month, Pinterest announced new business accounts that are governed by new Business Terms of Service. Pinterest also established Logos, Trademarks, and Marketing Guidelines. Among other things, these Guidelines provide some do’s and don’ts for growing number of companies that run promotions … Continue Reading

Watch Kelley Drye’s “Smartphone Revolution” Webinar On Demand

Mobile marketing, sweepstakes and services, including location-based services, are governed by an alphabet soup of statutes and regulations: TCPA, COPPA, CAN-SPAM, CPNI, etc. To complicate compliance even further, numerous class action lawsuits in state and federal courts have addressed issues and nuances that the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and state regulatory agencies or … Continue Reading

Questions and Answers on Advertising Law

Over the past year, several companies have entered into high-profile settlements with the FTC over allegations that their products didn’t work as advertised. For example, Skechers agreed to pay $40 million to settle charges that it made unsubstantiated claims about its toning shoes. Although the terms of those settlements provide valuable insights for all advertisers, … Continue Reading

WOMMA Releases New Social Media Marketing Disclosure Guide

This week, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association released an updated version of its Social Media Marketing Disclosure Guide. The Guide is designed to help marketers comply with the FTC’s requirement that individuals clearly disclose any material connection they have to a company whose products or services they review. WOMMA outlines five key responsibilities marketers … Continue Reading

NAD Determines that Pinterest Promotion Needs Disclosures

The NAD reviewed weight-loss success stories on Nutrisystem’s Pinterest board, and determined that the weight-loss claims featured atypical results. As we’ve posted before, the FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines state that if an endorser’s experience does not reflect what consumers will generally achieve, the ad “should clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected performance in the depicted circumstances.” … Continue Reading

Free Cup of coffee!* FTC Workshop on Advertising and Privacy Disclosures Explores Dot Com Updates

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held an information gathering workshop titled “In Short: Advertising and Privacy Disclosures in a Digital World”. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the need for updated guidance for web and mobile advertisers regarding disclosures and privacy practices. FTC issued the current guidance, known as the “Dot … Continue Reading

Myspace Settles FTC Charges of Misleading and Deceptive Statements in its Privacy Policy

On May 8, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its settlement with social networking service Myspace on charges that it misrepresented its protection of users’ personal information in violation of federal law. Like many of its social media counterparts who were recently the target of FTC enforcement actions, Myspace is charged with espousing strict … Continue Reading