Following more than a year of public comments, the Federal Trade Commission in December enacted changes to its formal guidance to advertisers as to the steps necessary to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads from running afoul of the Federal Trade Commission Act and its potential consumer protection liabilities.
Many of the changes were required to address issues as to endorsement and testimonial ads in new media such as blogs and Twitter, which did not exist three decades ago when the guidance was last addressed. The FTC therefore determined it was necessary to update the guidance to address the impact of new media, including the fact that new media’s increasing democratization of publishing access may increase public access and reliance on “expert” opinion while decreasing the transparency of the identity and sponsorship of the “expert.” The most significant of the changes is the new requirement that endorsements or testimonials in new media must disclose the relationship between the endorser and the advertiser.
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