In May 2000, long before the creation and launch of Facebook and Twitter, the Federal Trade Commission (?FTC?) issued its ?Dot Com Disclosures.? That document addressed how the FTC?s consumer protection rules and regulations regarding unfair and deceptive business practices applied to the brave new world of online advertising. 

Fast forward 13 years. With the advent and proliferation of social and mobile media, the advertising landscape of today is dramatically different. 

In light of these technological and cultural changes, the FTC decided it was time to dust off its original guidelines and, in March 2013, it issued its revised ?.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in the Digital Age? (the ?.com Disclosures?).

Although the new guidelines do not have the force and effect of law and adherence to them does not serve as a safe harbor, they are intended to provide businesses examples and direction on how to avoid unfair or deceptive business practices in connection with digital advertising. 

In addition, the FTC could use a failure to comply with the .com Disclosures as a basis to bring an enforcement action under the FTC Act.  Therefore, brands and agencies are well-advised to reevaluate their advertisements and disclosure practices in light of these new revisions and to adopt certain best practices.

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