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FTC Cracks Down on Social Media Ads
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The "nanny" state. When government interferes with our daily lives, people become outraged. People want to live the Free Enterprise dream: limited government, and the free market system. Let the market decide who wins and loses, what norm rises and what norm falls.

Except, interestingly enough, when it comes to advertising.

Yes the FTC announced that social media ads have run their course without any government regulation, and it is time to reel it in. The advertisements and sponsored stories being run across social networks should and will abide by the same rules as traditional ads.

And, if the ad is too long and is unable to fit the disclosure, the ad must be modified to do so.


Apparently the online public needs assistance in knowing what tweets and posts are ads or sponsored, and which ones are not. Though Facebook and Twitter have established "Sponsored Stories" boxes, those celebrities and spokespeople who actively tweets products and services may have to abide by these new regulations.

Could spokespeople argue that certain tweets and photos could be considered product placement? Probably. But we guess we'd have to wait until someone tests out the regulation.

The FTC is also requiring disclosure on mobile advertisements.

Yes, because the number you don't know that's asking you to try a product is a friend of yours. You should probably buy the product.

Ladies and gentlemen, in advertising we continue to see the glaring paradox of our "free" market system. Consumers want to be able to buy whatever they want, whenever they want, without government interference, and then they turn around and demand that same interference against the messengers of the free market system.

But let's be clear: in a free enterprise system, there is a free flow of information, and consumers are knowledgeable about the business, the product/service, and the things around them.

Maybe we're simply not quite there yet.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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