On January 13, the FTC announced a settlement with WealthPress, an online service provider that recommends trades in financial markets.  The settlement resolved allegations that WealthPress violated both the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) and Section 5 by making false and misleading claims about how much consumers could earn with the company’s trading recommendation services.  The action is noteworthy for two reasons.  First, building upon the FTC’s prior MoviePass settlement, the FTC’s ROSCA allegations focus not on the terms of the subscription service offered, but rather on the failure to clearly disclose material information about the company’s services.  Second, this is the FTC’s first settlement imposing civil penalties for alleged earnings claims violations predicated upon a Notice of Penalty Offenses issued in October 2021.  The settlement provides for $1.3 million in consumer redress, $500,000 in civil penalties, and injunctive relief.

Continue Reading FTC Relies on ROSCA and Notices of Penalty Offenses to Police Deceptive Conduct in Settlement with WealthPress

On November 28, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and seven state attorneys general announced that they reached settlements with Google LLC and iHeartMedia, Inc., to resolve claims that the companies aired deceptive advertisements promoting Google’s Pixel 4 phone by arranging for iHeartMedia radio personalities who never actually used the phone to personally endorse it.  The companies agreed to pay a combined $9.4 million to the states to settle these allegations.

Continue Reading Google and iHeartMedia Reach Settlements with FTC and States for Deceptive Endorsements

On June 14, 2022, representatives of the EU’s Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network, together with several national data protection authorities in the EU and the secretariat of the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”), endorsed five key principles for fair advertising to children (see press release here).  These recommendations are based on relevant requirements

On November 26, 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) held in Case C-102/20 that the display of advertising messages in an electronic inbox in a form similar to that of an actual email constitutes direct marketing, and therefore is subject to EU Member States’ rules on direct marketing (see press release here

On September 16, 2020, the Spanish Supervisory Authority (“AEPD”) approved a “Code of Conduct for Data Processing in Advertising” (“Code”) (see the decision approving the code here). This is the first GDPR approved Code of Conduct with an accredited monitoring body in the European Union. The Code enters into effect on November 17, 2020, two months after its approval.

Below we provide a brief FAQ about the Code.

Continue Reading The Spanish Supervisory Authority Approves a GDPR Code of Conduct on Advertising

Cardi B might like it, but the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) did not.  On March 5, 2020, the agency sent Cardi B and other high-profile influencers warning letters alleging that the influencers made inadequate disclosures in their endorsements of Teami tea.  The letters followed on the heels of the FTC’s proposed order against Teami, LLC for allegedly making deceptive claims about weight loss and other health benefits in their advertisements and failing to adequately instruct influencers about how to comply with the law when endorsing Teami products.
Continue Reading FTC Sends Warning Letters to Teami Tea Influencers

You may have heard the phrase “dark patterns” as shorthand for various user interfaces designed to influence users’ decisions. They can range from the perfectly innocent to the unethical, and even illegal. Whatever the form, dark patterns have recently drawn attention from the mainstream press.

Dark patterns are coming out from the shadows. And when that happens, class action lawyers can’t be far behind.

Continue Reading Dark Patterns: What They Are and What You Should Know About Them

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced the issuance of consent orders involving Creaxion Corporation and Inside Publications, LLC to settle allegations that the companies misrepresented paid endorsements as independent opinions, and misrepresented paid commercial advertising as independent editorial content.  As a result, these companies and their principals are now prohibited from making misrepresentations about the status of their endorsers, required to clearly and conspicuously disclose material connections with such endorsers, and are required to monitor their endorsers.

Continue Reading FTC Settles with PR Firm and Publisher Over Social Media Endorsements

By Kristof Van Quathem and Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses 

Exactly one month after the GDPR started applying, the French Supervisory Authority (“CNIL”) issued a formal warning to two companies in relation to their processing of localization data for targeted advertising (see here).  The CNIL found that the consent on which both companies relied did not comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).  The CNIL also concluded that one of the companies was keeping geolocation data for longer than necessary.

Fidzup and Teemo offer a tool (“SDK-tool”) that allows their customers, mobile app operators, to collect geolocation data and to use this data to provide customized advertising to their app users.  The two companies create profiles on the app users based on the users’ visits to certain points of interests identified by the customers, such as the physical stores of the customer (or of competitors).  They then provide advertising in the form of pop-ups to the app users.  Once a user downloaded a customer’s app, geolocation data is collected, irrespective of whether the app is running, and combined with other data collected about the app user, such as, an advertising ID and technical information about the device (e.g., MAC address).  Both companies relied on user consent obtained by the app operator to process the personal data they collected.  The agreements with Fidzup and Teemo required their customers to inform app users about the targeted advertising activities enabled by the SDK-tool and to obtain the app users’ consent.

The CNIL concluded that the consent obtained did not meet the requirements of the GDPR.  Under the GDPR consent must be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”.  According to CNIL, the consent obtained did not meet any of these requirements.
Continue Reading French Supervisory Authority Issues 2 GDPR Warnings