Influencers and Platforms Facing FTC Pressure for ‘Fake and Manipulated Reviews’

The Federal Trade Commission published a friendly, easy-to-understand digital booklet entitled Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers in 2019 to assist streamers and influencers in understanding when and how to disclose their promotional relationships with businesses.

Now, it appears to be that the FTC intends to take a harder stand against “stealth advertising” and endorsement disclosures, as it has voted to consider updating its guidelines against “fake and manipulated reviews.”

Since years, the FTC has been fighting deceptive online advertising. While Disclosures 101 was created in response to ongoing problems, its Endorsement Guides were last updated in 2009, a remarkable span of time for the digital world.

Therefore, the FTC has proposed a revision to its guidelines to reflect advertisers’ increasing use of social media and product reviews to market their products.

As part of the recommended revision notice, social media companies are cautioned that their influencer tools may not comply with legal requirements, which opens them to potential liability. Companies using consumer reviews in promotional materials are also asked to avoid distorted or misrepresent what people really think of their products. New rules will also increase scrutiny on “microtargeting” specific audiences.