Digital Ads Need to Be Clear on All Platforms, FTC Says

Advertising delivered through social media or on mobile phones needs to provide clear disclosures and abide by the same requirements that apply to newspaper and television messages, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said.

“Advertisers are responsible for ensuring that their messages are truthful and not deceptive,” the agency said in updated guidelines issued today. It said it would take enforcement action against companies that violate consumer protection laws.

The guidelines aim to provide practical tools for advertising on smartphones or through social media like Facebook Inc. (FB) or Twitter Inc. services. The suggestions update the “Dot Com Disclosures” guidance the FTC issued in 2000 to cover the rise of online shopping.

Advertisers need to take into account that most consumers won’t scroll through a long ad for information, the full cost of a product should be presented before a purchase is made, and presenting hyperlinks that just say “disclaimer” or “more information” isn’t adequate, according to the guidelines.

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