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FTC Seeking Public Comment on Rule to Combat False or Deceptive Reviews

  • The FTC has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning a proposed Trade Regulation Rule on the Use of Reviews and Endorsements. The proposed Rule is intended to buttress the FTC’s current limited remedial authority concerning fraudulent or deceptive reviews, given that monetary relief and disgorgement are typically unavailable.
  • The proposed rule is intended to address a range of deceptive practices, including reviews or endorsements by nonexistent people, or people who did not actually use or test the product or service; “review hijacking” in which a seller steals or repurposes reviews of another product; marketers offering compensation or incentives for positive or negative reviews; and owners, officers, or managers of a company writing or soliciting reviews, among other scenarios.
  • The FTC will proceed through an “open rulemaking” process seeking comment on the prevalence of these practices, costs and benefits of a potential rule, and possible alternatives to rulemaking, and it will hold public workshop conferences as well.