Following a public comment period (beginning in May of 2022) for proposed changes to its current Endorsement Guides, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced updated Advertising Guides to combat deceptive reviews and endorsements in order to protect consumers. Taking full consideration of the comments received during that year-plus period, the Commission has made a number of revisions to its guides that will impact businesses and others. According to the FTC press release:
“The FTC today (June 29, 2023) announced it has finalized an updated version of its Endorsement Guides, which provide agency guidance to businesses and others to ensure that advertising using reviews or endorsements is truthful.
The Endorsement Guides advise businesses on what practices may be unfair or deceptive in violation of the FTC Act, and they were last revised in 2009. In May 2022, the FTC announced it was seeking public comments on proposed updates to the Guides to reflect the ways advertisers now reach consumers to promote products and services, including through social media and reviews.
The final revised guides announced today take the public comments received into consideration and make a number of revisions including: 1) articulating a new principle regarding procuring, suppressing, boosting, organizing, publishing, upvoting, downvoting, or editing consumer reviews so as to distort what consumers think of a product; 2) addressing incentivized reviews, reviews by employees, and fake negative reviews of a competitor; 3) adding a definition of “clear and conspicuous” and saying that a platform’s built-in disclosure tool might not be an adequate disclosure; 4) changing the definition of “endorsements” to clarify the extent to which it includes fake reviews, virtual influencers, and tags in social media; 5) better explaining the potential liability of advertisers, endorsers, and intermediaries; and 6) highlighting that child-directed advertising is of special concern.”
To continue reading the FTC’s full press release, click here.