On July 26, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) adopted revisions to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (the “Guides”), addressing the use of deceptive consumer reviews and testimonials in advertising. Due to the meteoric rise of social media and influencer marketing, preliminary Guides were published in February 2020, and now, the FTC has published revised Guides to protect consumers from deceptive social media influencer marketing practices.
The revised Guides warn advertisers and endorsers against deceptive marketing practices. To avoid potential liability, the FTC advised that:
- Advertisers must not publish or promote reviews and/or testimonials that were deceptively procured, edit, or boosted.
- Advertisers and influencers must ensure that paid advertisements are accompanied by sufficient disclosures. In some cases, built in disclosures on social media platforms are insufficient, such as those solely including the term “sponsored.”
- Advertisers must avoid promoting endorsements with misleading messages, even when the endorsements were made by unrelated third parties.
- Influencers must not make false or misleading statements, which include any misrepresentations that they personally used a product or any claims about a product’s performance that are inconsistent with the influencer’s personal experience with the product.
As such, advertisers and endorsers must be aware of the new Guides to ensure compliance and protect against liability associated with misleading advertising practices. At Newman & Lickstein, we represent some of the world’s most popular content creators and social media influencers. We are experienced in ensuring compliance with the Guides and we provide industry leading support to streamers, content creators, gaming organizations, game developers, managers, and associated brands as the world of advertising evolves.