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FTC Updates Advertising Guidelines
August 17, 2023
The FTC revised its guides on endorsements and testimonials on June 29, after a comment period. They include additional guidance on incentivized reviews, employee reviews, and fake negative reviews of competitors. For example, a connection between the endorser and the business that might affect how the consumer views the endorsement must be disclosed. The definitions of “endorsement” and “endorser” are revised. Statements and tags in social media are now considered endorsements. Endorser is defined as “the party whose opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience the message appears to reflect.” That means actual as well as fictitious individuals, groups, or institutions. Therefore, the writer of a fake review may be considered an “endorser” and subject to action by the FTC. The Commission also proposed a new regulation titled “Rule on the Use of Consumer Reviews and Testimonials.” It would officially contain conduct described in the Endorsement Guides, among them fake consumer reviews, repurposing a review written for one product so that it appears to have been written for a different product, and compensation for positive or negative consumer reviews.
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