FTC Isues Online Policy Report

FTC and Guidelines for New Media

Is the FTC going to crackdown on “everyone?”  With social media and what is coined as “new media” policies are changing rapidly.  The involvement and interaction of television, mobile phones, the Internet and social media sites, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the gang have brought on cases with new precedent and that means new policies.

The FTC has put forth new policies and guidelines and will be overview these policies for new laws.  Here are some tips and issues to keep and eye out when planning your marketing and advertising.

You might be asking, “How does the FTC affect me?” Or you may think you are too small to be bothered by the FTC.

Here are some issues the FTC will be looking at in 2011.

  1. We had the DO NOT CALL list and know for your websites there is going to be a DO NOT TRACK list.  This is going to cause frenzy!  Even the government used the search engines and the social network sites to “track’ persons.
  2. Expect stricter policies for networks that deal with children and advertising.  The scrutiny is going to be with children 12 years and younger with a big play on food advertising and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – COPPA and a trend toward “policing.”  You can read the COPPA guidelines here.
  3. Privacy Policies are going to become more important and gain emphasis, so you will need one and you need to honor it!  Make sure your policy is up to date with the technology of your site because you do not want to unknowingly get into Unfair and Deceptive Trade Policies.
  4. Mobile platform policies should have their own policies.  General statements are not going to protect you if you get into any legal trouble.
  5. Social media can and does change your responsibilities with regard to business obligation.  If you use social media and interactive sites, you need to be very active in policing your own site.  This can add responsibilities for due diligence and “knowing” your clients and friends.
  6. The FTC is going to develop voluntary Codes of Conduct.  How long will it remain voluntary?  Only until the first problem!
  7. The FTC will likely establish rules for federal breach and security breach.  They have the power to go after even “the little guys.”
  8. Plagiarism – if you have material on your site or content that is not yours and you are discovered, expect recourse.
  9. The Fair Use Doctrine is certainly a protection for you, but the FTC will set guidelines and police them.  Don’t be fooled by “free” public domain and “free” twenty seconds.  When your work crosses beyond reporting and education you need to be especially aware.

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