The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") recently updated its FAQ Guide that contains answers to common questions regarding the FTC's Endorsement Guide. The Endorsement Guide, which includes information concerning the disclosure of material connections between advertisers and endorsers, was followed up by questions and requests for clarification. Consequently, the FTC released, and occasionally updates, its FAQ Guide, in accordance with the changes in the online advertising ecosystem.
The new update, which was published on 3 June 2015, focuses on endorsements on social media. The update states that endorsements on social media must be truthful and not misleading; must include a disclosure of any connection between the endorser and the marketer; and must be accompanied by a disclosure about generally expected results of the endorsed products.
The update also states that in today's online advertising world, even posting a picture of a product in social media would be considered an endorsement, and accordingly, the endorser is required to disclose whether or not he or she receives any benefit in doing so. The benefit, states the FTC, does not have to be considerable. Similarly, employees must disclose the connection to their employers every time they endorse content on social media.
However, the FTC decided to clarify that it has not yet determined whether a benefit given for a "Like", or other "binary" endorsement on social media, would be considered as an endorsement for that matter, and will in the meantime follow and apply the above. The FTC, as stated, has decided to postpone the decision regarding this matter for another time.