If the Federal Trade Commission has its way, bloggers and social network users will soon be liable for their reviews of businesses and products. New regulations would allow them to be sued for anything they write that would be false.
Supposedly, these new regulations would be restricted to “pay-per-post” content, but I’m sure lawyers will find a way to target all content. (Hint: they already do. These regulations would help, yes, the lawyers!)
The FTC should go back to elementary school. That’s when kids learn that opinions are not true or false – only facts are. They even have homework assignments about it.
When you see a celebrity endorse a consumer brand in traditional advertising, does anyone really believe that celebrity uses the brand? Or do we know think that they use some high-end brand that 0.000001% of America can afford?
Is the FTC suddenly going to be tailing Padma Lakshmi to see if she really does eat Hardee’s Western Bacon Thickburgers on a stoop in New York City? Especially since there isn’t a Hardee’s in New York City? (Oh you thought that was Chicago? It’s not. There are no Hardee’s there either.) (Apologies to Chris Applebaum.)
And here’s the clincher. Are they going to punish politicians for all of their false advertising? Both the promises that never get fulfilled and the attacks that stretch the truth?
For a government agency full of people staffed by politicians, going after bloggers for truthiness is like the pot calling the kettle black.
That’s just my opinion. What’s yours? Leave a comment below, if you dare. The FTC may allow you to get sued for it later.