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Unformatted text preview: FTC has enforced and will continue enforcing its consumer
protection laws to ensure that products and services are described truthfully online, and that
consumers understand what they are paying for. These activities benefit consumers as well as
sellers, who expect and deserve the opportunity to compete in a marketplace free of deception
and unfair practices.
The general principles of advertising law apply online, but new issues arise almost
as fast as technology develops — most recently, new issues have arisen concerning spaceconstrained screens and social media platforms. This FTC staff guidance document describes
the information businesses should consider as they develop ads for online media to ensure
that they comply with the law. Briefly,
1. The same consumer protection laws that apply to commercial activities in other
media apply online, including activities in the mobile marketplace. The FTC Act’s
prohibition on “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” encompasses online advertising,
marketing, and sales. In addition, many Commission rules and guides are not
limited to any particular medium used to disseminate claims or advertising, and
therefore, apply to the wide spectrum of online activities.
2. When practical, advertisers should incorporate relevant limitations and qualifying
information into the underlying claim, rather than having a separate disclosure
qualifying the claim.
3. Required disclosures must be clear and conspicuous. In evaluating whether a
disclosure is likely to be clear and conspicuous, advertisers should consider its
placement in the ad and its proximity to the relevant claim. The closer the disclosure
is to the claim to which it relates, the better. Additional considerations include: the
prominence of the disclosure; whether it is unavoidable; whether other parts of
the ad distract attention from the disclosure; whether the disclosure needs to be
repeated at different places on a website; whether disclosures in audio messages
are presented in an adequate volume and cadence; whether visual disclosure...
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This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014.
- Spring '14