In a notice announcing an upcoming meeting of the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC indicated that it plans to begin a rulemaking on "Fake Reviews and Endorsements." The FTC said that, at the meeting, it plans to vote on whether to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to "initiate a rulemaking proceeding addressing fake reviews and other endorsements, which can cheat consumers and honest businesses alike." The FTC said it is going to seek comment on the prevalence of fake and deceptive reviews and the consumer harms arising from them, among other issues.
This is an interesting development on the endorsement front, since the FTC is already in the middle of updating its Endorsement Guides -- which have guided marketers since 1980. (A detailed discussion of the FTC's plans there is available here.) This suggests that the FTC feels that, after all these years, it's not enough just to update its non-binding guidance on the use of endorsements and that, instead, it wants to create enforceable rules that allow the FTC to seek civil penalties. I'm sure we'll have a lot more to say on this issue after the FTC's meeting on October 20th.
At the meeting, the FTC also plans to vote on whether to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to initiate a rulemaking proceeding "addressing junk fees that are charged for goods or services that have little or no added value to the consumer."
"fake reviews and other endorsements, which can cheat consumers and honest businesses alike"