New FTC guidelines for Blogs and Social Media

Do you use a blog or twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social media in your business?  If so, then you should pay particular attention to the new guidelines issued by the Federal Trade Commission. Although the new guidelines are not law yet, the FTC has been known for enforcement in the past and will probably be on the lookout for those social media users and bloggers who stray from these guidelines. You can read the entire FTC guideline publication by clicking HERE.  Basically, the FTC is requiring that any social media or blog postings that constitute sponsored content or reviews in exchange for free samples contain more obvious disclosures.  Some examples given by the FTC include a offer for sale of imitation pearl earrings.  Prior to the new guidelines, the seller could bury the fact that the earrings were imitation somewhere in a separate paragraph away from the product itself.  The new guidelines, however, require that the qualifier, “imitation”, appear alongside the product itself, “pearl earrings”, so as to not mislead the buyer. Additionally, if someone on twitter or Facebook posts an update about a free product they were given in exchange for a review, then they must make a disclosure that is obvious to the general public that their content is based upon such sponsorship. The actual guidelines have multiple other examples which everyone should read through before endorsing any product that they have tried in exchange for a review online. For more information about the FTC guidelines, please call the offices of Shelton & Power toll free at 866-993-7262 and click HERE to download the FTC guideline publication.