Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission announced new guidelines around disclosure for online endorsements that hits squarely at social media content creators, including bloggers, Twitterers, and Facebookers.
The thrust of the regulations, which go into effect on December 1, is clear: If you’re paid or compensated in kind (such as being sent a free product to review) to talk about a product, service, or experience online, your content must be accompanied by a clear and easy-to-understand disclosure of your relationship with the marketer/advertiser.
But it’s not just the content creators who are on the hook for disclosure; the marketers have legal responsibilities, too, and I break them down in this month’s audio commentary.
- Disclosure in social media outreach is now required.
- Marketers must monitor online conversations about products and services they’ve asked content creators to test and review and correct any misstatements that are made.
- Brands and agencies must create policies and training programs for employees and partners that cover the dos and don’ts of working with/compensating social media content creators.
Here are a few other relevant posts on the updated FTC guidelines, all part of my Delicious collection on the topic:
- Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (PDF): The official 81-page guide from the FTC
- Whitney Hoffman: A flow chart of disclosure
- Endorsement deal: A transcript of Bob Garfield’s Sernovitz in the October 9 edition of NPR’s “On the Media”