WASHINGTON, D.C. – Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has filed public comments with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in response to proposed rules to regulate consumer reviews and testimonials. “IAB supports the Commission’s goal of improving consumers’ confidence in the authenticity of the reviews and testimonials they encounter. Many of IAB’s members are already working proactively to prevent, detect, and stop the proliferation of deceptive reviews and testimonials in order to preserve the trust of their customers,” writes IAB’s Lartease Tiffith, Executive Vice President for Public Policy, in the filing.
However, Tiffith warns of FTC overreach that could stifle online discourse, penalize businesses acting in good faith, and violate provisions of internet law and First Amendment protections. He warns that companies could be liable for third-party comments, including subjective opinion, and new rules could also “impose significant costs on legitimate businesses, when a rule targeted at the behavior of bad actors would be a much more effective and efficient mechanism to address the problem” of fake reviews.
IAB supports several FTC proposals in the agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), such as prohibiting the purchase of reviews, but warns other provisions could prohibit businesses from collecting or incentivizing reviews in any form. “Many of the proposed provisions are overly-broad and would prohibit practices that are consumer-friendly and where the record does not demonstrate a prevalent deceptive practice,” according to IAB’s filing.
The trade association is calling for an informal FTC hearing to share its members’ perspectives on preventing deceptive or unfair practices without overburdening legitimate business activity.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership comprises more than 700 leading media companies, brands, agencies, and the technology firms responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital ad marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, IAB develops technical standards and solutions. IAB is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the trade association advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, IAB is headquartered in New York City.