Brands and influencers could unknowingly be violating the FTC’s endorsement rules by using TikTok to promote paid posts and sponsored content without including the necessary disclosures. TikTok offers native direct download and social sharing tools that enable users to share TikTok videos on other social media platforms without the caption and hashtags from the original video description, which may include disclosures that were included as required by the FTC to identify paid advertising.
Continue Reading Native TikTok Tools May Create Liability for Brands and Influencers

On November 5, 2019, the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a guide entitled “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers”[1] and a video “Do you endorse things on social media?” to alert influencers to the laws governing endorsement or recommendation of products or services and provide social media influencers with “tips on when and how to make good disclosures.”[2] The FTC’s written guide states that “[a]s an influencer, it’s your responsibility to make these disclosures, to be familiar with the Endorsement Guides, and to comply with laws against deceptive ads.”[3] The guide explains to influencers that disclosures must be made when an influencer has a “material connection,” that is “any financial, employment, personal, a family relationship with a brand” and that receiving “free or discounted products or other perks” requires a disclosure.[4] In addition, the FTC notes that “tags, likes, pins, and similar ways of showing you like a brand or product are endorsements.”[5] The FTC guide also instructs influencers that “[i]f posting from abroad, U.S. law applies if it’s reasonably foreseeable that the post will affect U.S. consumers. Foreign laws might also apply.”[6] The FTC notes that disclosures must be in simple and clear language that is placed “so it’s hard to miss” and should be placed with the endorsement itself. Disclosures that “appear only on an ABOUT ME or profile page, at the end of posts or videos, or anywhere that requires a person to click MORE” will not be sufficient.[7] The FTC gave the following guidance with regard to endorsement posts in photographs, video and live streaming:
Continue Reading FTC’S New “Disclosures 101” Publication And Video Is A Shout Out To Influencers

With the backdrop of November midterm elections and social media executives testifying before Congress about foreign efforts to interfere in U.S. democracy, California lawmakers are working on finalizing a new bill aimed to promote transparency and accountability around political advertisements on social media platforms. The “Social Media DISCLOSE Act” (the “Act”) seeks to build upon the existing California DISCLOSE Act, established in 2017, by extending political advertisement disclosure requirements to online social media platforms.
Continue Reading #Transparency: California’s Social Media DISCLOSE Act

Many companies operating commercial websites and online services will likely need to update their privacy policies soon to comply with new requirements in California. After passing the Assembly and the Senate in a series of unanimous votes, A.B. 370 is now before the Governor for signature, which is expected soon.
Continue Reading California Online Tracking Disclosure Bill Heads to Governor for Signature

It appears that users won’t be seeing the blue AdChoices triangle icon on Twitter anytime soon. AdChoices and its blue triangle icon are the work of the Digital Advertising Alliance (a consortium of trade groups) to provide users with disclosure of and the ability to opt out of targeted behavioral advertising (e.g. ads based on websites visited). This industry self-regulatory option was intended to be a broad and unifying option to stave off governmental regulation.
Continue Reading Was AdChoices Just Flipped the (Twitter)Bird on Behavioral Targeting?

By Elizabeth Barcohana

Facebook, Inc. was sued in a class action last year over one of its advertising practices called “Sponsored Stories,” which typically consist of a Facebook Friend’s name, profile picture, and an assertion that the person (your Facebook Friend) “likes” an advertiser, coupled with the advertiser’s logo, featured on your Facebook page or News Feed. The idea is that the target of the advertisement (i.e., you) will be more influenced by the company’s advertisement because someone in your network (i.e., your Friend) “likes” that company. The disconnect is that “liking” a page on Facebook does not necessarily mean the user likes that company in the normal sense of the word. For example, one could “like” a page in order to get some promotional benefit from the company or learn more information about the company or its product.


Continue Reading He “Likes” Me, He “Likes” Me Not – Facebook’s Sponsored Stories Lawsuit and the Proposed Class Settlement

Words matter. Words can come back and bite you. Think before you speak. These are all self-evident truths that no one is likely to dispute. Yet, we continue to see examples of people, who should know better, doing just the opposite. This is especially true in the context of electronic communications – first, in work emails, and now, on social media websites. If it was a simple matter of personal embarrassment alone, then there would be no need for this article. This is not the case however. 
 


Continue Reading Why Every Business Should Have A Social Media Policy