Actually, there’s no ethics alert. Nothing in social media ethics should be news to you.
In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the Truth in Advertising rules that gave the FTC the authority to protect against “Unfair and Deceptive” practices.
Since then, they’ve seen the rise of every new marketing practices: TV, direct mail, multi-level-marketing, infomercials, and ecommerce. For each of these, there was a rush of get-rich-quick folks who saw each new medium as a way to cheat their way to easy sales. And every time, the FTC stepped in and cleaned it up and held marketers to the same standard.
Today, it is silly for a bunch of social media marketers looking for a shortcut, and bloggers looking for a payday to think that they are exempt from or better than the rules that the rest of us have lived by for 100 years.
Nothing new here, folks.
- It has always been illegal to solicit false endorsements.
- It’s always been illegal to pretend your ads are the opinions of a regular consumer.