Category Archives: Internet/Social Media

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Deceptive Claims for Health App and Endorsements by Employees Raise FTC’s Blood Pressure

As 2017 quickly approaches, and consumers look for gift ideas or help with their New Year’s resolutions, “apps” that focus on fitness and health are increasingly popular. A recent FTC settlement against Aura Labs, Inc. (“Aura Labs” or “Aura”) and its principal, for allegedly making deceptive claims regarding the accuracy of its blood pressure measuring … Continue Reading

Highlights of the 2016 NAAG/NASCO Charity Regulators’ Annual Conference

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) convened for their 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC this week. The “Public Day” of the conference, held on Monday, October 16, provided an opportunity for nonprofit leaders, professional counselors and advisers, and academics to learn about “the evolving … Continue Reading

FTC Wins Some, Loses Some at Second Circuit in LeanSpa Appeal

We wrote previously about the FTC’s efforts to hold an affiliate network (LeadClick) and that network’s successor (CoreLogic) responsible for their role in working with LeanSpa, a marketer of dietary supplements. LeanSpa primarily marketed its diet products through “fake news” stories placed by affiliate marketers. Here is a link to an example of the “fake … Continue Reading

Celebrity Endorsement Disclosures on Social Media

We’ve blogged several times about the need to disclose when social media posts by endorsers, particularly celebrities, have been paid for. And there has been lots of guidance and discussion about how best to do that, particularly in shorter form media such as Twitter. For example, “The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking” provides … Continue Reading

Golden Rules: Diving Into Rule 40

The next issue in our series of blog posts about the Olympics considers “Rule 40,” which can get both advertisers and athletes into trouble. We think Rule 40 deserves a gold medal for generating buzz in the advertising world, and a silver for generating confusion. Rule 40 restricts participants in the Olympic Games (i.e., competitors, … Continue Reading

Keep Calm and Carry On: Data Protection Post Brexit

Brexit is likely to cause years of future uncertainty around data protection, including the legal mechanisms for data transfer to countries outside of the United Kingdom (“U.K.”). In the short term, there will be little to no impact on existing data transfer solutions implemented by companies that rely on the U.K. as an entry point into … Continue Reading

Fake Seals and Phony Websites Promoting Dietary Supplements Equals FTC Lawsuit

Three things the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) really doesn’t like: deceptive claims about dietary supplements; deceptive certification or seal programs; and websites that look like editorial content, but are actually advertisements. Put them all together and what do you get? If you guessed a lawsuit by the FTC, you are correct! On June 16, the … Continue Reading

How to Avoid #Translation Fails in Your Next Marketing Campaign

It is no surprise that each year more advertisers are turning to bilingual and foreign language advertising to market their products. According to U.S. census data, over 55 million Americans speak a language other than English in the home. Spanish language advertising, in particular, has increased over the years, in response to the growth of … Continue Reading

Don’t Browse Over Your Website Disclosures

Litigation surrounding the enforceability of website terms isn’t new.  Indeed, back in 2014, we blogged about the Nyugen case. Yet, courts continue to grapple with the question of what constitutes an adequate disclosure and binds website visitors to the terms and conditions of a service agreement. Last month, the Seventh Circuit decided in Sgouros v. … Continue Reading

FTC Creates Compliance Tool for Mobile Health App Developers; Simultaneously Releases Business Guidance

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC or the Commission) announced yesterday that it has created a web-based guidance tool for developers of health-related mobile applications (health apps).  FTC did not take this action alone, but rather developed the tool in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for … Continue Reading

Three Strikes and You’re Out!: The FTC’s Native Advertising Case Against Lord & Taylor

Baseball season is just around the corner, and the FTC’s native advertising case against retailer Lord & Taylor illustrates the baseball rule of “Three strikes and you’re out!”  In its first native advertising case since releasing its Enforcement Policy Statement Addressing Native Advertising and Deceptively Formatted Advertising, the FTC reminds advertisers that those guidelines will … Continue Reading

New York AG Targets “Deceptive” Online Endorsements

On February 11, 2016, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced four independent settlements related to the use of allegedly deceptive online testimonials and reviews.  These cases reflect continuing concern by the New York Attorney General’s office over “astroturfing” (the posting of fake or otherwise biased reviews).  We wrote about theses enforcement actions previously … Continue Reading

When It Comes to the Year’s Biggest Sporting Events, Don’t Fumble Your Ad Campaign

Will the Patriots’ dreams of heading to this year’s Super Bowl® get deflated? What, exactly, will Olympic® gold medalist Ryan Lochte do in Rio? How much madness will March cause? This year will be a big one for sports fans and advertisers alike, with Super Bowl 50 and March Madness® around the corner, followed this … Continue Reading

FTC Settlement Sheds Light on Claims of Increased Cognition

It doesn’t take a genius to know that health claims are on the FTC’s radar.  In fact, at last year’s NAD conference, Commissioner Brill said that the FTC will prioritize enforcement of unsubstantiated health claims, such as cognitive claims.  We have blogged about learning claims before, including the Word Smart case.  However, Lumosity, which created … Continue Reading

No Cop Out in COPPA: The FTC’s First Enforcement Actions on Persistent Identifiers

Last week, in settlements with two app developers, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced its first enforcement actions under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule”) amendments on persistent identifiers.  Persistent identifiers are data that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different websites or online services.  In 2012, we … Continue Reading

FTC Keynote at BAA Conference: Outpacing Zombies in Today’s Digital Marketplace

FTC Deputy Director Daniel Kaufman launched into his keynote address at this year’s BAA marketing law conference by comparing the modern digital marketplace to the most talked about TV series as of late: The Walking Dead.  He pointed out that the show has spawned active social media engagement and user generated content (#GlennIsAlive…or is he?), … Continue Reading

Under the Influence

As Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  But Peter Parker had to learn the hard way, and marketers and social influencers sometimes need to as well.  Well-known influencers can come from anywhere – some have big screen starts, others are video game superstars, and still others are makeup geeks.  Some even … Continue Reading

Your Social Media Policy, the FTC and the DOL

When your employees “speak” in social media, using their personal social media accounts, what they “say” may interest at least two different federal agencies with different agendas.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates endorsements your employees may make related to their employment, while the Department of Labor (DOL) enforces the labor law that entitles employees … Continue Reading

Broadening Your Self-Regulatory Options – 2 Sheriffs in Town

The Advertising Self-Regulatory Council operates several self-regulatory programs including CARU, NAD and ERSP.  Traditionally these have been thought of as distinct programs – CARU regulates marketing to children, ERSP regulates companies that market and sell their products electronically while NAD oversees most traditional national advertisers.  While this compartmentalization is largely true, there is some overlap … Continue Reading

CARU Heats up with Fireside Chat about Hot Button Issues in Children’s Marketing with Commissioner McSweeny

Huddled in front of a digital hearth on the third and final morning of the NAD Annual Conference, FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny participated in a cozy fireside chat about children’s marketing with ASRC President and CEO, C. Lee Peeler. The newest FTC Commissioner reported (or warned!) that she is closely following the evolution of marketing … Continue Reading
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