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Important: FTC to Host Workshop Examining Effectiveness of Disclosures

On September 15, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop to examine and evaluate disclosures that marketers make to consumers about advertising claims and privacy practices.

Regulators have spent considerable resources addressing the issues of disclosures in recent years.  From weight loss products to education opportunities, the FTC continues to emphasize that “[e]ffective disclosures are critical in helping consumers make informed decisions in the marketplace.”

While regulatory policy continues to evolve with respect to product/service-specific disclosure requirements, there are considerations that do not change across marketplace offerings.  For example, required disclosures must be clear, conspicuous and near claims that they qualify.  Disclosures should also include information pertaining to what data is collected from consumers, how such data is utilized and if data is passed through intermediary entities.

In 2013, the FTC issued the first revision of its Dot Com Disclosures since that guide’s original publication in 2000.  The Dot Com Disclosures provide comprehensive guidance for advertisers on complying with FTC prohibitions regarding false and misleading advertisements.

The FTC is now focused upon the actual effectiveness of disclosures and continues to encourage the development of shorter, clearer, easier-to-use privacy disclosures and consent mechanisms.

The upcoming workshop is aimed at evaluating disclosures by industry, academics and the FTC in order to ensure that consumers notice them, understand them and can utilize them in the decision-making process.

For more information on advertising disclosures, see here.

Information conveyed in this article does not purport to cover every issue associated with online advertising disclosures. This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor should it be relied upon, as legal advice. No person should act or rely on any information in this article without seeking the advice of an attorney.

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Richard B. Newman

Richard B. Newman is an Internet Lawyer at Hinch Newman LLP focusing on advertising law, Internet marketing compliance, regulatory defense and digital media matters. His practice involves conducting legal compliance reviews of advertising campaigns across all media channels, regularly representing clients in high-profile investigative proceedings and enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general throughout the country, advertising and marketing litigation, advising on email and telemarketing best practice protocol implementation, counseling on eCommerce guidelines and promotional marketing programs, and negotiating and drafting legal agreements.

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