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Endorsements on social media run afoul of FTC

August 26, 2015Article
Los Angeles Daily Journal

In her excitement to connect with fans on social media, a famous professional athlete posts about her life­changing vision surgery at a specific medical clinic. "The surgery was life­altering and helped me win," she writes, but what she doesn't disclose is that she is a paid spokeswoman for the clinic.

Potentially millions of consumers could see this post, many of whom won't realize it's an endorsement, making it a direct violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which generally prohibits deceptive advertising. Instances such as this fictional scenario offered on the FTC website are not a rarity ­ more than half of celebrity endorsements of brands or products on social media are not in compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, according to Greenberg Glusker LLP partner Jesse Saivar.