FTC Seeks Public Comment on Modernizing Its Digital Deception Guidance

On June 3, 2022, the Federal Commerce Fee announced it’s in search of public remark on its 2013 steerage, “.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising” (the “Guidance”). The FTC indicated that it’s updating the Guidance to raised shield shoppers in opposition to on-line misleading practices, significantly as a result of some corporations have interpreted the present model of Guidance to “justify practices that mislead consumers online.” For instance, the FTC explains that corporations have wrongfully claimed they will keep away from FTC Act legal responsibility by putting required disclosures behind hyperlinks. The up to date Guidance will tackle points corresponding to promoting on social media, in video video games, in digital actuality environments, and on cell gadgets and purposes, in addition to the usage of darkish patterns, manipulative consumer interface designs, multi-party promoting preparations, hyperlinks and on-line disclosures.

In its Request for Information, the FTC supplied the next questions for public remark:

  • “What points raised by present or rising on-line applied sciences, actions, or options, corresponding to sponsored and promoted promoting on social media platforms or in any other case, the usage of promoting content material embedded in video games, or the usage of darkish sample methods in digital promoting, ought to be addressed in a revised steerage doc? Why and the way ought to they be addressed?

  • What points raised by new legal guidelines or laws ought to be addressed in a revised steerage doc? Why and the way ought to they be addressed?

  • What analysis or different info concerning the web market, internet advertising methods, shopper on-line conduct, or shopper cell conduct ought to the workers take into account in revising its internet advertising steerage doc?

  • What analysis or different info concerning the effectiveness of disclosures – and, particularly, on-line disclosures – ought to the workers take into account?

  • What particular forms of on-line disclosures, if any, increase distinctive points that ought to be addressed in a revised steerage doc individually from a dialogue of normal disclosure necessities?

  • What steerage within the .com Disclosures doc is outdated or pointless?

  • What steerage ought to be clarified, expanded, strengthened, or restricted?

  • How can the steerage on the usage of hyperlinks be clarified to offer higher steerage on the suitable use of hyperlinks and the way hyperlinks ought to be labeled?

  • Does the steerage adequately tackle the way to make qualifying disclosures when shoppers should navigate a number of webpages as a way to full a purchase order? If not, how ought to the steerage be modified?

  • The steerage says that when designing space-constrained advertisements, ‘disclosures may sometimes be communicated effectively to consumers if they are made clearly and conspicuously on the website to which the ad links.’ Ought to that steerage be modified, and in that case, how? Ought to the steerage doc make clear when a disclosure on a marketer’s web site can and can’t be adequate to forestall a illustration in an earlier communication that hyperlinks to the web site from being deceptive?

  • Does the steerage adequately tackle promoting on cell gadgets? If not, how ought to the steerage be modified?

  • Ought to the steerage doc tackle points distinctive to particular audiences or demographics in seeing, listening to, or comprehending disclosures? In that case, how ought to the steerage be modified? Ought to any such steerage tackle microtargeted ads, and in that case, how ought to it accomplish that?

  • Ought to the steerage doc tackle points which have arisen from multi-party promoting preparations in web commerce corresponding to (1) established on-line sellers offering a platform for different companies to market and promote their merchandise on-line, (2) web site operators being compensated for referring shoppers to different web websites that provide services and products, and (3) different affiliate marketing online preparations? In that case, how ought to the steerage be modified?

  • Ought to the steerage doc tackle points which have arisen with respect to promoting that seems in digital actuality or the metaverse, and, in that case, how ought to these points be addressed?

  • What extra points or ideas referring to internet advertising ought to be addressed within the steerage doc?

  • What different adjustments, if any, ought to be made to the steerage doc?”

The general public can present feedback on these points via August 2, 2022. Directions on the way to submit feedback might be discovered within the FTC’s Request for Information.

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