FTC Continues to Focus on Endorsement and Reviews

Significant developments in the FTC’s treatment of endorsements and reviews occurred this year. In June, the FTC finalized its revised Endorsement Guides. In addition to adding a definition of “clear and conspicuous,” explaining the potential liability advertisers, endorsers and intermediaries, and highlighting child-directed advertising as an area of specific concern, the revised guides include a new principle regarding procuring, suppressing, boosting, organizing, publishing, upvoting, downvoting, or editing consumer reviews that can alter how consumers interpret a product. In addition to the revised Endorsement Guides, the FTC has proposed a new rule that would specifically address deceptive practices involving consumer reviews. Further, it has continued to pursue enforcement actions against advertisers that utilize such consumer reviews in what the FTC purports to be a deceptive manner. For example, this year the FTC reached a settlement with room and roommate-finder platform, Roomster, in relation to charges that the company bought fake reviews to encourage consumers to pay for the platform. The FTC’s rulemaking process will continue into 2024, and we expect that the FTC will continue to prioritize this issue through both the rulemaking process and potential enforcement efforts.

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