On Tuesday, the FTC released a set of guidelines for online influencers dictating when and how influencers must disclose sponsorships to their followers. The guidelines, available here, break down disclosure requirements and provide tips for influencers on how to avoid deceptive advertising. In general, the guidelines largely reflect what the industry has gleaned from FTC … Continue Reading
Devumi, LLC (“Devumi”) and its owner and CEO, German Calas, Jr. (“Calas”) have agreed to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) complaint alleging that Devumi and Calas engaged in deceptive online marketing tactics in violation of the FTC Act. In this first-ever type of complaint, the FTC alleges that Devumi and Calas sold fake indicators … Continue Reading
Gigi Hadid found herself sued for copyright infringement by New York photo agency Xclusive-Lee, Inc. over a photo the fashion model posted to her Instagram account. The disputed photo was of Hadid herself, smiling at the camera while wearing a blue denim jacket and matching shorts with silver heels, and was snapped by paparazzi. Xclusive-Lee … Continue Reading
Jason Gordon and Andrew Levad published an article in Law360 this week titled, “6 Advertising Law Trends To Watch In 2019.” A copy of the article is available here. You may also view a PDF copy of the article here.… Continue Reading
Recently, the German media regulators, the State Media Authorities (Landesmedienanstalten), issued a joint guidance paper on marking adverts on social media. For more information, click here. … Continue Reading
Social media influencers are constantly competing for likes, partnerships, and ways to differentiate themselves from others. A surefire way to distinguish oneself in the ever-growing sea of social influencers? Being a robot. Computer generated social media influencers like Lil’ Miquela and Shudu have racked up millions of Instagram followers and likes and have secured several … Continue Reading
A 2015 lawsuit brought by Facebook users over the company’s alleged unauthorized collection of their facial features and other facial biometric data pursuant to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) is slowly moving through the courts. The BIPA requires written notice and consent for the collection of biometric identifiers or biometric information of Illinois … Continue Reading
In the highly-publicized case about unauthorized reselling of Trader Joe’s merchandise by renegade Canadian merchant “Pirate Joe’s,” social media provided the powder keg for Trader Joe’s arbitration enforcement demand. The case set sail in May 2013, when Trader Joe’s sued Pirate Joe’s proprietor Michael Hallatt for federal trademark infringement and violations of Washington state consumer … Continue Reading
Readers may be aware of YouTube celebrity couple Ethan and Hila Klein, better known by their social media moniker @h3h3productions. They rose to Internet fame producing comedic “reaction” videos that ridicule and comment upon other Internet content, boasting 4.9 million subscribers on their YouTube channel. Not everyone laughed along though, particularly fellow YouTuber Matt Hosseinzadeh, … Continue Reading
This month, online gaming social media influencers Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell settled the Federal Trade Commission’s first charges against individual failure to disclose material information in social media endorsements. Martin and Cassell are both operators of YouTube channels with millions of subscribers in the online gaming community and owners and officers of CSGOLotto, Inc., an … Continue Reading
Last month, Instagram launched a new feature to let users know when a post is sponsored, making it easier for users to determine if a celebrity was paid to sponsor a post. Instagram will now have a “Paid partnership with” tag in organic content posts and Instagram Stories, in order for creators and businesses to … Continue Reading
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced this week that it sent more than 90 letters to social media influencers and advertisers, reiterating the need for influencers to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose their relationships with brands in social media posts that promote or endorse branded products. The FTC reviewed the Instagram posts of various unnamed celebrities, … Continue Reading
A putative class action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook, Inc. just one month after Facebook announced that an erroneous formula had caused it to inflate a key video metric for the past two years. Facebook admitted the error in a September 23, 2016 post on the Facebook business page. The metric at issue—the average … Continue Reading
A class action lawsuit was filed in California yesterday against Hey, Inc. and Twitter regarding Hey’s online trading game in which players collect profiles of (and use virtual currency to invest in) real-life people as if they were baseball cards. App users may purchase virtual currency to buy and trade these profiles. According to the … Continue Reading
Last week, Pinterest updated its Acceptable Use Policy, which governs its policies for conducting a contest and sweepstakes. Pinterest policy previously: Prohibited brands from running a sweepstakes where each Pin, board, like, or follow represents an entry; Prohibited brands from requiring entrants to Pin from a selection; or Prohibited brands from requiring a minimum number … Continue Reading
The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) and the BBB are pleased to announce the launch of its second Public Service Campaign regarding children’s online safety. CARU’s first campaign titled, “Do you know where your children are…on the Internet?” was broadcasted on the major network and cable channels, received thousands of views on social media and … Continue Reading
This post was written by John Feldman, Keri Bruce and Sara Shahmiri. After the FTC revised its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials (the “Guides”) in 2009, it followed up with a set of frequently asked questions entitled “What People Are Asking” (the “FAQs”) to address questions that were on advertisers’ minds. More than … Continue Reading
A recent district court case reminds companies and brand owners to establish clear guidelines or contractual rights with respect to brand-related social media pages' administration and ownership.
Plaintiff Stacey Mattocks independently ran an un-official Facebook fan page which focused on the TV show the "Game". After Black Entertainment Television network (BET) acquired rights to the TV show, it hired Mattocks to promote and grow the brand on the page and provided exclusive content and IP to Mattocks. During Mattocks' employment, the number of page "likes" grew from 2 million to 6 million. Mattocks had granted BET full access to the page to update content but later, during a dispute involving Mattocks' terms of employment, Mattocks demoted BET's ability to access the page without her approval and claimed ownership of the page. BET approached the social media platform to regain control and Mattocks filed suit for various claims against BET (such as breach of contract and tortious interference with contract).
While social media platforms offer certain protections to companies and some include official or verification procedures, this kind of litigation and expense could have been avoided with more careful planning with respect to allocation of rights and ownership up front.… Continue Reading
A recent Facebook Platform Policy change may affect the way many promotions are run on Facebook. The change, effective November 5, 2014, prohibits Facebook Page owners from requiring a user to "like" their Page in order to access content, such as entry into a contest or sweepstakes, via a Facebook application ("App"). Advertisers often use this technique, known as "like-gating," as a way to increase the amount of likes their Pages receive.
Facebook believes that a prohibition on like-gating will benefit both advertisers and consumers. In announcing the change, Facebook stated in a blog post: "[T]o ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives."
A like can be valuable to an advertiser, regardless of whether it is generated organically or artificially. When a user likes a Facebook Page, the like may appear on the user's Timeline, stories from the Page may show up on the user's news feeds, and users may also appear in advertisements for that Page.… Continue Reading
Last month, Snapchat reached a settlement with the Maryland Attorney General over alleged deceptive trade practices regarding Snapchat's marketing claims that user "snaps" disappear forever. In addition, the Attorney General alleged that Snapchat had violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This settlement follows a similar settlement between Snapchat and the Federal Trade Commission, which we reported on previously.
After announcing the settlement, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said that "despite Snapchat's marketing claims to the contrary, no company can fully prevent content you send to someone else from being copied, shared or posted online[.]" Attorney General Gansler went on to state that companies operating online or through mobile devices have a responsibility to safeguard user privacy and to be transparent about the information they collect. According to Attorney General Gansler, Snapchat misrepresented to consumers that pictures and video messages sent using the Snapchat mobile application are only viewable temporarily, when in fact they can be captured by the recipient for future viewing or circulation. As a result of these representations, some Snapchat mobile application users may have sent pictures or video messages they would not have sent were these risks adequately disclosed. The Attorney General further alleged that Snapchat secretly collected information from users' contact lists without their consent, and that Snapchat failed to comply with COPPA by knowingly collecting the personal information of children under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent.… Continue Reading
While social media has matured over the past decade as a marketing platform, it is still very much a legal work in progress. Join Reed Smith partner and ANA General Counsel, Douglas J. Wood, on Tuesday, July 29 at 1:00 p.m. EDT for a complimentary webinar entitled Social Media's Murky Legal Waters to hear what legal risks lie ahead for marketers operating in the social media space, and how they can work to build powerful creative while keeping those risks within reason.… Continue Reading
The FDA issued two draft guidance documents on social media last week. The first guidance pertains to product claims and risk information on platforms such as Twitter and Google's sponsored links, while the second guidance covers correcting misinformation that originates from independent third parties on the Internet and social media sites. The FDA has opened up a comment period and will be accepting comments until September 16, 2014.… Continue Reading