FTC Extends Comment Deadline For Endorsement Guidelines

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the Federal Trade Commission to give the public an additional two months to comment on issues surrounding influencer marketing.

The new deadline for comments is June 22. The FTC said it pushed back the date after receiving requests for more time due to the outbreak. 

The FTC first sought input from the public in February, when the agency announced it was launching a review of its endorsement guidelines, which set out recommendations for online testimonials and influencer marketing.

The agency is soliciting feedback from issues including the adequacy of current disclosures by endorsers on platforms like Instagram, whether children can understand social media disclosures, and how to treat affiliate links.

The FTC's last major overhaul of the endorsement guides took place in 2009 -- before Instagram was founded. At the time, the FTC said it expected online endorsers to disclose material connections between themselves and advertisers.

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The agency's subsequent recommendations -- which have come in the form of answers to frequently asked questions -- have made clear that the agency takes a broad view of the kinds of connections that require disclaimers.

For instance, the FTC said in 2017 that social media users who have any relationship with the businesses or people they endorse -- even friendships or family ties -- should disclose those connections when writing reviews, posting on Instagram and tweeting. Last November, the FTC reminded online influencers to disclose whether they received free products or discounts.

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