Bloggers, Tweeters, and Facebookers who receive payments or free products from companies and in turn hype or review them—without mentioning the arrangement—could be on the hook for $11,000 in FTC fines. The commission’s new regulations offer clear guidelines on the responsibilities of reviewers working in new media: in short, “the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement.”
The new rules target what has become an increasingly comfortable relationship between producers and seemingly independent bloggers—especially in the “mommy blogger” sector. The regulations also target celebrities who hype freebies on talk shows or Twitter, who could also face fines. Bloggers have pointed out that policing the vast social-media landscape will be a daunting task, CNET notes.