FTC updates online marketing guidelines to reflect growing use of mobile devices, social media

NEW YORK, N.Y. – As more consumers connect to the Internet through their phones and tablet computers, the government wants to make sure online advertisers know how consumer protection laws apply to mobile ads.

The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday issued updated guidelines for online advertisers, saying they should make clear product disclosures and avoid deceiving consumers, even on the smaller screens found on smartphones and tablets.

The FTC put the original guidelines in place in 2000, before the surge in popularity of mobile devices.

Disclosures about product claims should be “as close as possible” to the claim itself, the FTC said, even on a small screen. Marketers should also avoid delivering required ad disclosures through pop-up windows and hyperlinks, the FTC said.