Other ways the FTC should crack down on bloggers

On Monday, the FTC announced that bloggers must disclose any payments that they receive from companies for reviewing their products. This isn’t a law, but it’s the federal government’s official interpretation of the law, which means that bloggers who fail to disclose could open themselves up to lawsuits after December 1st.

Some people are upset about this opinion. They see it as a slippery slope and think that the FTC is overstepping its bounds. I, however, think the FTC hasn’t gone far enough! Here are some new regulations that I’d like to see also being enacted as of December 1st:

  • Anyone who reads a blog or online article that allows comments must comment using information that can be easily and clearly traced back to them, even if it’s a pseudonym that is tied to them. Commenting with a fake name or completely anonymously can result in fines of up to $10,000 per occurrence and a judicial order prohibiting computer use for up to 10 years.
  • No blogger may post a photo that they’ve taken without keeping a signed release on file of all people who appear within. Photos that contain trademarked images, such as logos, may only be posted if the blogger obtains a release from said trademark holder.
  • Surveys and memes that require in-depth personal information are suspect and prohibited unless the blogger has documented proof that (a) said survey or meme was created by the blogger in question; and (b) no answer on said survey or meme can be used for the potential theft of identity of the blogger answering said survey. A blogger who has his or her identity stolen has no legal recourse if it is discovered that he or she filled out and published any survey or meme within the last four years.
  • All links within the content of a blog post must have appropriate disclosures with regards to the material agreement between the linkee and the linker. If no such material agreement exists and the blogger was linking to a location as a courtesy, this must also be disclosed.
  • A blogger is held completely responsible for all content on his or her site, even content published by a third party in the form of an advertisement or a comment. Each blogger must keep a clearly posted comment policy that must be seen and agreed to, via a checkbox or other means, before a commenter can leave a comment. If an objectionable comment is published, the blogger has 24 hours to remove the offending comment and ban the IP address of said commenter.
  • Trademarked words are no longer allowed for use in any content created by a blogger unless said blogger has permission on file to post said trademarked language. This includes words such as “Kleenex”, “Q-tip”, “Dooce” (or variations such as “dooced”), “Tweet”, “Twitter”, “Follow”, “Skype”, and “Blogger”.
  • Any site that uses profanity or contains nudity must implement procedures to prevent such site from being visited by those aged 13 or under. For every use of profanity or nudity, a fine of no less than $10,000 per violation will be imposed if a minor is exposed to objectionable content.
  • Other objectionable content that is deemed dangerous to minors is improper grammar. Bloggers must ensure that, at all times, they use “your” and “you’re”, “it’s” and “its”, and “they’re”, “there” and “their” properly. This is not a conclusive list, but use of any phrases that are grammatically incorrect can damage the education of minors, and unless procedures are implemented to prevent minors from seeing such damaging content, fines may be assessed.
  • All content that can be considered disparaging, insulting, belittling, or otherwise defaming, even if it’s true, must be accompanied with a release from the object of said content. For example, a rant about your spouse must be accompanied by a release signed by your spouse that he or she has approved the content you have created. Failure to include such release may result in criminal penalties.
  • Any and all discussion of medical terminology, including diagnoses, examinations, treatments, not limited to physical ailments but also mental health, is now prohibited. Violation will result in prosecution of practicing medicine without a license.
  • The concept of truth in advertising has been extended to blogging as well. Any blogger found to be participating in bait and switch tactics will be subject to heavy fines. For example, if you have a post titled “Wordless Wednesday” and there are material words in your post, this would be considered deceptive blogging. Creating hysteria and anger by writing fake posts about federal agencies giving draconian opinions about blogging would also be considered deceptive blogging.

This is your chance to write to your Congressperson or Senator about these FTC opinions and make your voice heard. Show the FTC that you want more regulations and a much stricter blogging experience!

You can write to the FTC at the following address:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

You can also call and voice your displeasure at their lax attitude by dialing 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Viva el revolucion!

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44 Replies to “Other ways the FTC should crack down on bloggers”

  1. melissa

    you must be a lawyer. because this looks like something my dad would write. and i didn’t understand a word of it.

    i think the ftc should just start fining anyone who has a dot com linked to their name. it would just be easier.

  2. Sarcastic Mom

    SHIT. I have a picture of some guy’s naked ASS on my website! This just means more work for me.

    Thus, I am against it.

    Now I must go back to sitting here drinking a beer while I scratch my ass and think about taking photos of my bewbs.

    (I bet that is EXACTLY what you’re doing right now.)

  3. B.E. Earl

    There ain’t no rules in a knife fight:

    Butch Cassidy: No, no, not yet. Not until me and Harvey get the rules straightened out.
    Harvey Logan: Rules? In a knife fight? No rules.
    [Butch immediately kicks Harvey in the groin]
    Butch Cassidy: Well, if there aint’ going to be any rules, let’s get the fight started. Someone count. 1,2,3 go.
    Sundance Kid: [quickly] 1,2,3, go.
    [Butch knocks Harvey out]

    See?

  4. Faiqa

    I wonder what kind of person would go out of their way to sue someone over non-disclosure on a blog? Noooo, we don’t live in an overly litigious society. Not at all.

    And it’s a good thing that our legal system isn’t backed up with criminals who have committed actual crimes where people really get hurt so that we have the time and money to pursue these severe acts of injustice.

    Ahem.

  5. MB

    This doesn’t sound legal enough. You’ll have to add a few more “therefore” and “whereas” clauses.

    I guess I’ll have to shut down my blog now, pay a hefty fine or spend the rest of my life behind bars paying for my blogging misdeeds. We wouldn’t want the government to bother with real criminals commiting real crimes.

    I love breaking the rules, the more laws the better. I’m a rebel like that.

    Yeah, that’s me, I’m a badass blogger 😉

  6. Loukia

    Oh my God… I LOVED THIS! I think this should be published in like, Time magazine. Seriously, hilarious. I love how you included Dooce under trademarked words. Haha! And I too hate when people spell ‘there’ ‘their’ ‘they’re’ wrong! WHY DO PEOPLE STILL MAKE THIS MISTAKE?! It irritates me! And no anon comments, I hate that too. And so funny about Wordless Wednesday – there is always text to go with the pictures! And like an above commenter said… I love being Canadian! 😉 I think we get away with a lot more here. Or maybe not. Maybe I just don’t go by the rules!

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