The FTC is cracking down on insufficient and misleading disclosures under its updated Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP) authority. This trend is consistent with various state AG crackdowns on missing, vague or downright false disclosures. For example, NY has ongoing efforts to curtail fake reviews, veiled commercial endorsement and other forms of ‘astroturfing’.
As the FTC pointed out in their updated Dot Com Disclosures last year, if “the disclosure cannot be made clearly and conspicuously on a device or platform, then that device or platform should not be used.” What we’re seeing with the Cole Haan ruling are the consequences of poor diligence in an era of rapid convergence between personal and sponsored public expression. Online marketers should certainly take extra care with social media – the watchdogs are paying attention.
I touch on some of these issues further while discussing ways to make boring old privacy policies more engaging, here: http://www.experian.com/blogs/marketing-forward/2014/02/07/optimizing-cross-channel-marketing-for-compliance-part-iii-evolving-the-privacy-policy/