Tag Archives: FTC

Privacy in Social Media – The Next Hot Button Issue?

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In case anyone missed it, on Tuesday of last week the FTC settled their eight-count complaint against Facebook alleging they “misled users about the use of their personal information.” Essentially the FTC was claiming that Facebook had knowingly made changes to their privacy settings in December of 2009 that automatically made aspects of user’s profiles public by default without their permission.

At issue is the inability for Facebook users to have control over who sees their private information (name, picture, city, gender, friends, etc.) and who doesn’t. Twitter has also been a Target of the FTC, and settled a similar case back in June of 2010 for failing to safeguard user information.   Continue reading

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Klout Konundrum

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Since the launch of their products-to-influencers Perks program over a year ago, Klout has done 100+ deals with brands, but, as Ad Age Digital reported yesterday, “…such tactics are subject to [Federal Trade Commission (FTC)] disclosure regulations and the program could potentially have legal implications.”

The catch – The FTC’s 2009 revision regarding testimonials and endorsements in advertising: people posting about such products must disclose that they received them as incentives. Continue reading

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Ethical vs. Unethical: A Lot Rides on Only 2 Letters

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Neon toys signMere weeks after the PR world was shocked with news of unethical product review practices of client-developed iPhone apps by Reverb Communications, the profession is again faced with revelations of supposedly unethical practices, this time stemming from the undisclosed use of paid spokespeople by the toy industry as supposedly third-part, objective experts on local TV newscasts throughout the country, as Los Angeles Times media columnist Jim Rainey chronicled last week.

This glaring example of ethical misgivings from the toy industry brings clear an ugly truth in the new world of public relations: what is often best for the client is increasingly winning out over what is most ethical and best for consumers.

And that’s bad news for anyone serious about seeing the profession evolve and thrive. Continue reading

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PRSA: Unethical Product Reviews Have No Place in PR

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Judge Striking the GavelLast Thursday (Aug. 26), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Reverb Communications had settled charges alleging that the public relations firm had engaged in deceptive advertising practices by having its employees write and post positive reviews of clients’ games in the Apple iTunes Store, without disclosing that they had been compensated to do so.

The settlement brings to a close the Commission’s first case under its revised “Guidelines on the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” which took effect Dec. 1, 2009.

Those guidelines state, in part, that advertisers (in this case Reverb) are subject to liability for failing to disclose material connections between themselves and their endorsers. In a section entitled, “Disclosure of Material Connections,” the guidelines state that: Continue reading

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