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FTC Sends Out Official Warnings to Over 700 Brands Over the Use of Fake Reviews

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ftc sends out official warnings to over 700 brands over the use of fake reviews

As eCommerce continues to rise, so too do deceptive methods of advertising, including fake reviews, undeclared paid endorsements and other practices that fall foul of federal laws.

And now, the FTC is looking to step up its action on this front, with the Commission this week sending out notices to over 700 businesses, including Facebook, Amazon, and LinkedIn, about their use, or facilitation of false reviews and ads to promote products online.

As explained by the FTC:

The rise of social media has blurred the line between authentic content and advertising, leading to an explosion in deceptive endorsements across the marketplace. Fake online reviews and other deceptive endorsements often tout products throughout the online world. Consequently, the FTC is now using its Penalty Offense Authority to remind advertisers of the law and deter them from breaking it.”

The FTC says that by sending its Notice of Penalty Offenses to these organizations, it’s effectively notifying each of their need to either address these issues, or risk penalties of up to $43,792 per violation.

“The Notice of Penalty Offenses allows the agency to seek civil penalties against a company that engages in conduct that it knows has been found unlawful in a previous FTC administrative order, other than a consent order.”

So now that the FTC has sent out these warnings, it has a legal basis to implement penalties in future instances, if so detected.

What the specifics are in each case is unclear, but the FTC does explain that the range of violations highlighted in its notifications include:

  • Falsely claiming an endorsement by a third party
  • Misrepresenting whether an endorser is an actual, current, or recent user
  • Using an endorsement to make deceptive performance claims
  • Failing to disclose an unexpected material connection with an endorser
  • Misrepresenting that the experience of endorsers represents consumers’ typical or ordinary experience.

These violations cover a broad range of practices, which are particularly applicable in social media marketing, and with the use influencers in promotions also on the rise, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the latest regulations to ensure that you don’t also fall foul of the FTC’s rules.

The FTC has also created an overview guide to its endorsement rules to provide more assistance in this respect.

It’ll be interesting to see whether this new push from the FTC actually leads to more specific legal action on this front, and what that will mean for the marketing sector. And again, with the use of influencer marketing on the rise, you can imagine that many will fail to meet the specific criteria, leading to further concerns.

As such, it is worth reading up on the latest rules.

The FTC has published a full listing of the 700 companies that it’s sent out notices to here.

Socialmediatoday.com

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How to Train ChatGPT to Write in Your Brand’s Tone of Voice [Infographic]

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How to Train ChatGPT to Write in Your Brand’s Tone of Voice [Infographic]

Are you looking for ways to improve your ChatGPT output? Want to train it to write in a more unique tone of voice, in order to better suit your branding?

The Creative Marketer shares his ChatGPT prompt tips in this infographic. To enact these, add “Write like [INSERT CHARACTER]” at the start of your ChatGPT instructions.

TCM breaks things down into the following categories:

  • Innocent
  • Sage
  • Explorer
  • Ruler
  • Creator
  • Caregiver
  • Lover
  • Hero
  • Everyman
  • Magician
  • Jester
  • Outlaw

Check out the infographic for more information.

A version of this post was first published on the Red Website Design blog.

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Elon Musk reinstates far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on X

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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been reinstated on X, formerly known as Twitter, by company owner Elon Musk

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been reinstated on X, formerly known as Twitter, by company owner Elon Musk – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Joe Buglewicz

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X, on Sunday reinstated far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on the social media platform, a year after vowing never to let him return.

Jones, who claimed that a December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 20 children and six educators was a hoax, was banned from the platform — then still known as Twitter — in 2018 for violating its “abusive behavior policy.”

He was also sued by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting and ordered by a judge in the case to pay up more than a billion dollars in damages last year.

Musk had himself promised never to let the Infowars host back on the social media platform, which he bought last year for $44 billion.

But following a poll Musk conducted on X asking whether Jones should be reinstated, to which some two million users responded, he flipped that decision.

“I vehemently disagree with what he said about Sandy Hook, but are we a platform that believes in freedom of speech or are we not?” the SpaceX founder said on X.

But Shannon Watts, founder of the group Moms Demand Action group which pushes for tighter gun laws, said that “defamation is not free speech.”

Musk’s decision comes the same week that the Sandy Hook families commemorate the 11th anniversary of the December 14 shooting, which Jones alleged was staged to allow the government to crack down on gun rights.

Jones’ followers harassed the bereaved families for years, accusing parents of murdered children of being “crisis actors” whose children had never existed.

It also came a week after Musk had responded to advertisers pulling out of X because of far-right posts and hate speech, including an apparent endorsement by Musk himself of an anti-Semitic tweet.

Asked whether he would respond to the advertising exodus, Musk said in an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin that the advertisers could “go f*** yourself.”

Jones, who has a million followers on X, returned to the site with his first post re-tweeting Andrew Tate, the controversial former kickboxer facing rape and human trafficking charges in Romania, in which he hailed Jones’ “triumphant return”

US media reported that as of Sunday, the account of Jones’ controversial show Infowars was still banned.

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Instagram Launches New ‘Close Friends Only’ Podcast to Showcase Celebrity Users

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Instagram Launches New ‘Close Friends Only’ Podcast to Showcase Celebrity Users

Not sure if this will be a valuable addition, or another stream that’ll fade out pretty quick, as Meta stops paying attention to it.

Today, Instagram has launched a new podcast called “Close Friends Only”, which it says will present “the latest on culture – from memes and icks, to fashion and friendship – all from your favorite celebrities.

And they’ve gone big out of the gate, with the first episode featuring Ice Spice in conversation with Doja Cat.

The conversation sees the two stars discuss their favorite memes, their favorite animals, celebrity crushes, experiences in flirting on IG, their juiciest DMs, and more.

Which will no doubt get a heap of attention, and will help make Instagram a bigger focus for youngsters seeking to replicate their idols. But in terms of practical advice or tips, yeah, there might not be a heap there.

But it could be worth tuning in anyway, in order to get the lowdown on the latest trends, from some of the people that are leading the way on cultural shifts.

But then again, as noted, it’ll be interesting to see how IG follows this first episode up, and whether they keep running regular episodes of the podcast with more celebrities.

Either way, it’s an interesting promotional vehicle for IG, especially given that it’s focusing on musicians, as TikTok becomes an even more critical platform for music promotion.

Maybe, then, this will be Instagram’s counter to that, but again, we’ll have to wait and see whether more episodes arrive.

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