FTC Not Sure How to Enforce Blogger Disclosure Rules

The Federal Trade Commission is still trying to define how it will enforce new disclosure guidelines for bloggers who may have received free products from the companies they cover, according to northeast regional director Leonard Gordon.

“If the consumer wouldn’t understand that the endorser, whether it’s a celebrity or a mommy blogger, is being paid…to talk about the product, that’s something that we’re concerned about, because we think consumers are being misled,” said Mr. Gordon in a panel discussion on Thursday.

He said the blogosphere “went a little crazy with visions of storm troopers taking down suburban houses and seizing the computers of mommy bloggers,” but that the FTC has no plans to enforce the rules so aggressively.

Instead, he said, the agency wants to focus on people who are being paid to make plugs for products in “non-traditional contexts” such as tweeting. In particular, they’ll go after companies that make claims that aren’t true or can’t be substantiated, essentially the same mission of the FTC in holding companies accountable offline.

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