FTC Takes Action on Native Advertising

In December, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission issued comprehensive guidelines on the affirmative disclosures needed when using Native Advertising. This includes illustrations of content that it considers to be advertising, as well as how to make “clear and prominent” disclosures that the content is advertising. (Native Advertising, A Guide for Business, FTC, December 2015, www.ftc.gov)

It is clear the FTC expects the ad industry to read, follow, and utilize the guidance. In fact, the Commission has just issued its first consent settlement since publishing its guidelines with Lord & Taylor for lack of transparency in its native advertising in a fashion magazine and on social media. Continue Reading →

Study Results Show Parents/Adults For Expansion of COPPA

Results from a recent study commissioned by the Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media were released today, showing strong disapproval (80 percent) from parents and other adults over a variety of digital marketing techniques currently being used to collect information from children online. According to the study, 91 percent of those surveyed were opposed to advertisers collecting and using information about a child’s location via their mobile phone, and 96 percent of parents (94 percent of adults) responded against websites asking children to provide personal information about their friends online.

The study—conducted in November by Princeton Research Associates International—comes just before the Federal Trade Commission’s likely expansion of the 1998 Childrens Online Privacy Act (COPPA) which requires marketers to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13. This expansion of COPPA would extend the FTC’s authority to include mobile devices and would make targeting children online and via mobile devices much more difficult.

As expected, the online advertising industry has lobbied heavily against this proposed expansion, which would essentially collapse a massive ad market consisting of tech-savvy children carrying mobile devices in their pockets and using mobile technology daily.

Also see: Study: Parents Concerned About Digital Marketing Practices Targeting Kids from Adweek.com.