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FTC follows FDA: Likes are endorsements


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The FTC has issued guidance in its Endorsement FAQ that likes, shares, and comments are considered endorsements and marketers who encourage them may trigger the need for disclosure on the part of the endorser. The FTC talks about space-limited tools and calls out the Facebook "like" buttons and has this to say:

Advertisers shouldn’t encourage endorsements using features that don’t allow for clear and conspicuous disclosures.

A strict reading of the FAQ indicates that the FTC wants all companies in the US, not just pharmaceutical manufacturers, to refrain from encouraging consumers to use space-limited social media to show their support. In other words marketers can’t ask consumers to “like” their page.


Further to this, the FTC seems to be saying that since some social media users will receive rewards for being influential, marketers can’t ask anyone to like their page.

Other guidance, both updated and pre-existing, in the updated FAQ includes:

Working against the strict interpretation of the FAQ is that it almost reads like a stream of consciousness and questions itself:

However, we don’t know at this time how much stock social network users put into “likes” when deciding to patronize a business, so the failure to disclose that the people giving “likes” received an incentive might not be a problem.

Source: FTC FAQ

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