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FTC's new social media regulations fully reinforce SMBC's Disclosure Toolkit

Here is this afternoon’s press release on the FTC’s first significant update to their endorsement guidelines since 1980 — which now include explicit requirements for full disclosure in social media. We’re thrilled to see that the collaborative hard work of Social Media Business Council members received a big nod as the community’s open-source Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit was heavily reinforced in the new FTC regulations.

Chicago, IL — The Social Media Business Council (SMBC) — whose 80 Fortune 1000 members have promoted disclosure since June of 2008 — had its collaborative open-source Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit reinforced by new social media standards issued by the Federal Trade Commission this week.

According to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, marketers will be held accountable if social media outreach and word of mouth campaigns do not result in truthful disclosure. While the new rules will be applied on a case-by-case basis, they state that the post of any blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered to be a sponsored advertising message, and therefore may be subject to enforcement.

The FTC makes it clear that there are three things you need to do to limit your liability. These exact steps were recommended in the SMBC’s guidelines, which were published in July 2008.

Three Guides to Safe Social Media Outreach:

  1. Require disclosure and truthfulness in social media outreach.
  2. Monitor the conversation and correct misstatements.
  3. Create social media policies and training programs.

“Every company should have a social media disclosure policy in place for its employees, agencies, and subcontractors,” said SMBC CEO Andy Sernovitz. “If you are engaged in social media, it is the only way to protect your brand. SMBC members were fully prepared for the FTC’s announcement — it’s time for every company to take action.”

Any company still working on their social media policies or seeking best practices guidance is invited to download the SMBC’s Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit, as well as learn more about joining the Council, at http://socialmedia.org.

About the Social Media Business Council:

The Social Media Business Council, formerly the Blog Council, is a brands-only community that helps large organizations build successful social media programs. Members gain instant access and advice from the heads of social media at the world’s largest brands and collaborate with one another in a friendly, productive, and private environment. The Social Media Business Council is operated by GasPedal.

October 6, 2009 4 comments

4 Responses

  1. corporateblogs 6 October 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    FTC’s new social media regulations fully reinforce SMBC’s Disclosure Toolkit: Here is this afternoon’s pr.. http://bit.ly/I44Gj

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. corporateblogs 6 October 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    FTC’s new social media regulations fully reinforce SMBC’s Disclosure Toolkit: Here is this afternoon’s pr.. http://bit.ly/I44Gj

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. gmcdaniel 6 October 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    Important info RT @SocialMediaOrg: FTC’s new social media regulations fully reinforce SMBC’s Disclosure Toolkit http://bit.ly/mUFyl

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  4. gmcdaniel 6 October 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    Important info RT @SocialMediaOrg: FTC’s new social media regulations fully reinforce SMBC’s Disclosure Toolkit http://bit.ly/mUFyl

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter