FTC Talks Online Disclosures

On Sept. 20, the Federal Trade Commission is, appropriately enough, going on social media to talk about social media influencers and disclosure requirements.

The FTC will hold a Twitter chat on what those influencers need to tell their followers when they are being compensated by, or have some material relationship with, a brand they are reviewing.

On Sept. 7, a pair of online gamers settled with the FTC over allegations they had deceptively endorsed an online gambling service, CSGO Lotto, and paid others to endorse its site on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter and Facebook without disclosing the payments.

Related: FTC Investigating Equifax

The FTC is requiring them to "clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connections with an endorser or between an endorser and any promoted product or service," and now want to spread the word online with the Twitter chat.

"Consumers need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts,” FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen said last week.

The chat will be at 3:30 ET. Interested surfers can join at #Influencers101.

The FTC has authority to pursue unfair or deceptive conduct via lawsuits filed, and threatened lawsuits settled with conditions and, for second violations, civil penalties.

(Photo via Jeff Kubina's FlickrImage taken on June 20, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.