The Federal Trade Commission is considering a new regulation that aims to ban different forms of deceptive online reviews, such as those that are completely fabricated, reused, or privately altered.
FTC Banning Fake Reviews
This rule making process has taken a very lengthy period, which is typical for a federal agency. In 2019, the FTC took legal action for the first time against a retailer that had used deceptive advertising and had bought and published fake customer reviews. The company used “influencer marketing” before, where individuals didn’t disclose getting paid for promoting products.
With guidelines that were originally teased last October and are now in near-final shape, the agency is prepared to take decisive action. Many stakeholders, including businesses, consumers, and advertising trade organizations, were consulted before the draft regulation was finalized, and, as expected, they all counseled the FTC against taking any action to crack down on this lucrative enterprise.
Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said: “Our proposed rule on fake reviews shows that we’re using all available means to attack deceptive advertising in the digital age. The rule would trigger civil penalties for violators and should help level the playing field for honest companies.”.
The complete notice of proposed rule making can be found here. However, it is quite lengthy and primarily centers on substantiating the importance and legality of the rule.