Home » FTC seeking your input to modernize digital guidelines

FTC seeking your input to modernize digital guidelines

by | Jun 29, 2022

The Federal Trade Commission announced earlier this month that it is seeking the public’s input on ways to modernize the agency’s business guidance on mobile and digital advertising as well as metaverse/virtual reality/NFTs. First released in 2000 and updated in 2013, the regulator’s guidelines titled “.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising.” aimed “to make disclosures clear and conspicuous to avoid deception.”

According to the FTC, digital deception has grown in sophistication and some companies are wrongly citing the guides to justify practices that mislead consumers online. “We know that some companies are wrongly citing our current guides to justify dark patterns and other forms of digital deception,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We are looking to update the guides to make clear that online tricks and traps will not be tolerated, and we look forward to hearing from the public on this initiative.”

FTC staff is seeking public input through August 2, 2022 to ensure the guides are helping honest businesses treat consumers fairly, rather than being used as a shield by firms looking to deceive. The staff is interested in the technical and legal issues that consumers, the FTC’s law enforcement partners, and others believe should be addressed. The issues include:

  • the use of sponsored and promoted advertising on social media;
  • advertising embedded in games and virtual reality and microtargeted advertisements;
  • the ubiquitous use of dark patterns, manipulative user interface designs used on websites and mobile apps, and in digital advertising that pose unique risks to consumers;
  • whether the current guidance adequately addresses advertising on mobile devices;
  • whether additional guidance is needed to reflect the multi-party selling arrangements involved in online commerce and affiliate marketing arrangements;
  • how the guidance on the use of hyperlinks can be strengthened to better protect consumers; and
  • the adequacy of online disclosures when consumers must navigate multiple webpages;

Information on how to submit comments can be found here. 

About the Author

Capitol Communicator

Capitol Communicator is a unique online and offline resource for Mid-Atlantic advertising, marketing, public relations, digital and media communications professionals. The e-magazine, e-newsletters and events bring together communications professionals, fostering community and providing important information; news; trends; education; and opportunities for networking, career enhancement, business exchange and showcasing great work. Visit www.capitolcommunicator.com to learn more.


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