FTC’s Ruling On Endorsed Tweets

This is something I’ve seen more and more of throughout my twitter feed lately. Ever see a tweet that had the words #ad or #sponsored next to it and though “well at least they’re honest?”

That’s not because of honesty, it’s because it’s now something that you must do if you’re pushing a product through 140 characters on Twitter. The FTC updated their .com disclosure recently to included sponsored/advertisement tweets.

The new guidelines supplied by the FTC included all Social Media networks. However the FTC specifically targeted tweets and some regulations needed to keep them honest.

Sites with longer character limits have no excuse for leaving out disclosures, but twitter’s micro-posts have raised many questions about ad ethics over the years. Now any paid for endorsement must include two parts:

1. The statement that it’s an advertisement and not an organic tweet

2. The acknowledgment that the product might not work exactly as the endorser promises.

In a way, this is really good news for me, as it allows me to block tweets with the #ads. Keeping my twitter as fresh/clean as possible when it comes to the random celebrities I follow who want to peddle products.

The FTC’s updated rules show an evolving marketplace. The use of social media and smaller mobile screens have made messages smaller — in the case of Twitter, as small as 140 characters. And some celebrities and others are paid for the social messages they post.

The FTC says, “consumer protection laws apply equally to marketers across all mediums, whether delivered on a desktop computer, a mobile device, or more traditional media such as television, radio, or print.” With the new guidelines the FTC wants to cut false or misleading claims made through ads that are masked as social media posts. The rules aim to keep businesses compliant with disclosure laws, which must people to clearly show that a message is sponsored and that the poster is being paid to send that message.

I’m all for this move and am very happy the FTC is making the realization that people will literally do all they can to sell a product that they own.