FTC Blogger Disclosure
Some scenarios for you to ponder:

When posting on your Twitter account about a client, do you need to disclose that it is a client you are talking about?
A company has given you a product to test out and keep, do you need to disclose that you have been given this by a company?

Do you know the answers to the above?
You need to disclose either a relationship and/or goods have been shared according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you are in the United States. Other countries may have similar disclosure guidelines. FTC created guidelines in 2009 (yes they have been around since 2009 and bloggers and brands are still unaware) and revised them in 2013 to clarify blogger disclosure for both bloggers and brands.
What does this mean for brands?
The burden is on the brand to ensure bloggers and other influencers in the social space are in compliance with FTC guidelines for disclosure. It maybe a good time for you to either create blogger relations guidelines or review currently guidelines in place. I’d suggest do it with legal counsel to ensure you are compliant with the FTC guidelines. It can be costly if you aren’t. Brands should be requiring bloggers and online influencers include the following language to disclose a relationship when sharing on social media such as “#ad” or Ad:” and/or “Sponsored” as well as disclosures on their blogs about relationships.

The FTC came up with a helpful mnemonic for brands, M.M.M:
• Mandate that the disclosure policy complies with the law;
• Make sure those working for you know that rules; and
• Monitor what they are doing on your behalf.
A quick note if you are a solo professional and/or works for an agency who shares information about clients on your personal social media accounts, then you need to follow the same guidelines. You need to disclose. My suggestion is use “#client.”
As a blogger how does this affect you?
When writing about sponsored content or even receiving free products and/or services, you should be disclosing that upfront and not hidden away somewhere. Bloggers need to be labeling all social media activity including tweets, Facebook updates, Pinterest pins, etc, that are sponsored in any way with clear-language disclosure such as “Ad” or “Sponsored.”
Advertising laws still applies to the digital space.
Social media is word-of-mouth amplified. People often believe what they see on the Internet. Blogger disclosure is key to continuing the free flow of information in a transparent way. Advertising law still apply to endorsements. Disclosure needs to happen in the digital space.

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