June 29, 2023: The Federal Trade Commission [FTC] released updates to its Endorsement Guides in an 84-page document titled “16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.
These guides are the rules that all creators & brands must follow in regard to disclosing their connection to each other when it comes to sponsorships, advertisements, employment, and other factors.
Do all creators have to follow the FTC guidelines?
If your content is viewed by U.S. consumers, this U.S. law applies to your content. It’s important to note that most countries also have advertising laws to adhere to, so head those laws respectively to ensure a smooth advertising experience.
In an effort to help make sense of that document and the updates within for all, the FTC also published “What People Are Asking” – a comprehensive Q&A about the changes.
To help break it down even further, a Twitter thread created by lawyer Rob Freund – who works with creators, brands, and agencies – helps point out the more pertinent information for those in the industry:
What You Need to Know About June 2023 FTC Changes to Endorsement Guidelines!
1. It will no longer be enough to just put #ad in the description of TikTok videos, due to the small size text used on the app. Put your #ad text overlaid onto your video instead!
2. Speaking negatively about a brand that is in direct competition with your paid relationships now requires disclosure.
3. “Any publicity is good publicity” now also applies to endorsements; the photo or video post itself doesn’t need to mention anything positive about the company or brand to be considered an endorsement for companies you work with.
4. International creators that make content that could potentially be seen by U.S. consumers must comply with the FTC rules.
5. In order to disclose a relationship with a brand, the post will require more than simply tagging the brand. As you could just be tagging the brand because you like them.
6. A single disclosure on a website or social media page cannot be used as a blanket-solution for creators that work with several brands over time. Disclose each new relationship, make clear which products are free or not.
7. Hyperlinked disclosure, like using a button that says “DISCLOSURE”, is insufficient because it does not make the disclosure immediately available.
8. When posting endorsements on Facebook, you must make the disclosure within the post and / or content. You cannot post that information in the comments below the post.
9. Saying “thank you” is not enough to clearly disclose a relationship with a brand. Always be sure to let your audience know what you are thankful for, when it comes to sponsorships, gifts, or merch.
10. When disclosing a gifted product or products, it is not enough to simply state “GIFTED”. The brand must be included as well as clearly stated text.
11. Waiting until the end of a blog post or advertorial is no longer permitted. All posts must place the disclosure somewhere clear and visible.
12. Review links that target only satisfied customers, and similar are not permitted.
13. Alternatively, you cannot ask unsatisfied customers to change or delete their reviews.
14. Creators will “clearly and conspicuously disclose” if any product is given for free. They must do so every time they post about it. Brands must make these guidelines & rules of disclosure available to all those they send unsolicited gifts to.
It is extremely important that all content creators, influencers, and brands stay up to date on the latest guidelines.
Staying informed and making sure to implement the new updates will ensure an uninterrupted content flow. In addition, it will also provide a copasetic relationship between yourself, the brands you work for, and the FTC!
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