Is It Time To Get Serious About Cracking Down On Stealth Instagram Ads?

Is It Time To Get Serious About Cracking Down On Stealth Instagram Ads?

If you’ve used Instagram, you’re almost certainly familiar with apparently real people touting tummy-flattening tea, an array of subscription boxes, the benefits of some multilevel marketing scheme, or the latest in fashion, beauty, and electronics. If these people are being paid to shill these products, then they have to clearly be flagged as ads. Though the Federal Trade Commission has pledged to get serious about going after advertisers who taint your Instagram feed with these stealth ads, some consumer advocates say the FTC simply isn’t doing enough. [More]

Study: Students “Easily Duped” By Fake News, Sponsored Content

Jason Cook

You might assume that a child raised on online content may be better positioned to tell when news and information is coming from legitimate sources and when that source is a fake or an ad. However, the results of a new study appear to indicate that this always-connected generation is no better equipped to sort fact from fiction online. [More]

Facebook Tweaks Its “Ethnic Affinity” Advertising Feature To Address Discrimination Concerns

Facebook Tweaks Its “Ethnic Affinity” Advertising Feature To Address Discrimination Concerns

After coming under fire for allowing advertisers to use race-related information to exclude entire swaths of Facebook users from seeing an ad, the social media company has decided to tweak this feature to address concerns that it could be used to illegally discriminate against people based on their perceived ethnicity. [More]

Feds Accuse NetSpend Of Misleading Customers About Prepaid Debit Cards

Feds Accuse NetSpend Of Misleading Customers About Prepaid Debit Cards

NetSpend, one of the nation’s largest providers of prepaid debit cards, has been accused of violating federal law for allegedly misleading users into believing that funds loaded onto these cards will be available immediately, while some users say they had to wait weeks or were never able to access their funds. [More]

Ann Fisher

Some Online Publishers Backing Away From Those Fake “Around The Web” Ads

The internet is covered in advertising.* It’s a fact of life. Some of that advertising, though, is a lot better — or at least, less completely sketchy — than other ads fighting for some time with your eyeballs. And since the sketchy stuff may make you think less well of the company running it, some media outlets are quietly disappearing the bars that always seem to end up full of “one weird trick” and bogus “celebrity death” stories. [More]

Facebook Allows Advertisers To Exclude Users Based On “Ethnic Affinity”

Facebook Allows Advertisers To Exclude Users Based On “Ethnic Affinity”

Advertisers have always targeted their marketing to the demographic most likely to be interested in their product, but is there a difference between running an ad that you know will probably mostly be seen by people who fall into just one ethnic group and an ad that actively excludes people outside of that group? [More]

$20 Million Lawsuit Accuses KFC Of Misleading Ads For “Family Fill Up” Meals

$20 Million Lawsuit Accuses KFC Of Misleading Ads For “Family Fill Up” Meals

The ads for KFC’s Family Fill Up meal show an overflowing bucket of fried chicken, but the reality of what you get with your order may not be so bountiful. A KFC customer in New York is suing the fast food chain for $20 million, accusing it of deliberately misleading customers about how much chicken they get with this offer. [More]

If FTC Can’t Resurrect Lawsuit Over AT&T’s “Unlimited” Data, Telecoms May Be Even More Untouchable

jetsetpress

In August, an appeals court threw out the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against AT&T over the way it marketed its “unlimited” data plans (which were anything but unlimited). Now the FTC is taking its case up the legal ladder, making the case that if it’s not allowed to sue AT&T, then all phone and internet providers can more easily get away with deceptive business practices. [More]

5-Hour Energy Loses One Deceptive Advertising Case; Wins Another

5-Hour Energy Loses One Deceptive Advertising Case; Wins Another

More than two years ago, the attorneys general for Washington and Oregon each filed separate (but very similar) deceptive advertising claims against the makers of the popular 5-Hour Energy drinks, alleging that the ads misled consumers into believing that doctors recommend the product, and that the combination of ingredients provides some sort of benefit that is superior to just drinking coffee. In the last few days, judges in both those cases came to very different decisions. [More]

Doctor Who Endorsed Sketchy Joint Pain Supplement Failed To Mention She Was Married To Company’s Owner

Doctor Who Endorsed Sketchy Joint Pain Supplement Failed To Mention She Was Married To Company’s Owner

When you turn on the TV and there are one of those infomercials that pretend to be a talk show, you’re probably justified in questioning the bona fides of anyone endorsing the product being sold. Case in point: A joint pain supplement that not only made unsubstantiated claims about being able to treat medical conditions like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, but which failed to mention that the doctor endorsing the supplement also just happened to be married to the company’s owner. [More]

Southwest’s “No Gotchas” Airfare Sale Comes With Its Fair Share Of Gotchas

Southwest’s “No Gotchas” Airfare Sale Comes With Its Fair Share Of Gotchas

We all know that airfare sales generally come with all sorts of strings attached — restrictions on dates, routes, and seat types are to be expected — but if you’re going to advertise a sale as having “no gotchas,” then it’s a bit disingenuous to have nearly 400 words of mouseprint conditions full of restrictions. [More]

afagen

Public Backlash Grows Against Proposed Ads In National Parks

Backlash is growing against a proposal by the National Park Service that would allow some corporate logos and signage within park boundaries, with the majority of folks who weighed in on the idea during a public commenting period saying they’re against it. [More]

Minnesota Vikings Let Wells Fargo Keep “Photobombing” Rooftop Signs After All

Minnesota Vikings Let Wells Fargo Keep “Photobombing” Rooftop Signs After All

Maybe the Minnesota Vikings are feeling generous after a 2-0 start, but the NFL team is reportedly going to allow Wells Fargo to keep the two rooftop signs the bank allegedly erected to “photobomb” the Vikes’ new stadium — even though a court already ordered Wells to remove the signs. [More]

Mattress Store Apologizes For Ad Parodying Twin Towers Falling On 9/11

Mattress Store Apologizes For Ad Parodying Twin Towers Falling On 9/11

A San Antonio mattress store is apologizing after posting a video on Facebook advertising a “Twin Towers Sale” that parodies the World Trade Center towers collapsing. [More]

CBS Will Let You Watch New Star Trek Show Without Commercials… For $4/Month More

CBS Will Let You Watch New Star Trek Show Without Commercials… For $4/Month More

As CBS prepares to put bona fide original content — like the upcoming online-only version of Big Brother and next year’s new Star Trek: Discovery series — on its $6/month All Access streaming service, the network realizes that hey, maybe people will pay a bit more to avoid having to watch all those flippin’ commercials. [More]

Evan Jackson

City-Owned Airport Can’t Reject Ads Just Because They Aren’t Selling A Product

If a city-owned facility is going to sell advertising space to bring in revenue, to what extent can the city restrict the content of those ads before crossing the line into government-ordered censorship? This week, a federal appeals court confirmed that when a city enacts a wholesale ban on certain types of ads, it’s gone too far. [More]

Ad Watchdog: Comcast Should Stop Claiming “Fastest Internet In America”

Ad Watchdog: Comcast Should Stop Claiming “Fastest Internet In America”

If you live in one of the many parts of the country served by Comcast, you’ve likely seen the company’s nearly endless ads claiming that its Xfinity broadband “delivers the fastest internet in America,” and the “fastest, most reliable in-home WiFi.” However, an ad industry watchdog group has asked Comcast to rein in its bragging. [More]

Feds Accuse 1-800 Contacts Of Badvertising

Feds Accuse 1-800 Contacts Of Badvertising

The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit today against 1-800 Contacts, accusing the online lens retailer of making agreements with more than a dozen competitors to not compete with each other for online search ads, resulting in lens buyers paying higher prices. [More]