The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is doubling down on its opposition to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) proposed rules for consumer reviews and online subscriptions, arguing they could stifle legitimate speech and harm businesses.
“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:
Concerns over First Amendment and Process
- Potential infringement on free speech: IAB argues the FTC's rules could prohibit incentives for real reviews, prevent employees from voicing opinions online, and unfairly punish businesses for unverified reviews. This raises concerns about potential violation of First Amendment protections.
- Lack of public input: IAB criticizes the FTC for allegedly neglecting robust public hearings despite legal requirements. The organization's EVP for Public Policy, Lartease Tiffith, will present evidence next week supporting this claim.
Impact on Businesses and Consumers
- Small businesses at risk: IAB emphasizes the potential harm to small businesses facing hefty fines for user-generated content beyond their control.
- Negative impact on marketing: Regulations could hinder effective marketing practices with negative implications for both businesses and consumers.
Transparency and Dialogue Requested
- Open discussion needed: IAB seeks greater transparency from the FTC regarding the rule's potential long-term effects and encourages open dialogue to refine the scope and avoid unintended consequences.
- Upcoming hearings: IAB encourages participation in the upcoming hearings scheduled for next week.
IAB's Continued Involvement
- Commitment to fair regulations: IAB reiterates its support for regulations that combat fake reviews and punish bad actors, advocating for a balanced approach that protects both consumers and legitimate businesses.
- Advocacy for the industry: IAB remains committed to representing the interests of its members and ensuring a thriving digital advertising landscape.