We have been discussing the roles bloggers play as publishers and/or journalists for a while now but a new proposal from the FTC could add an additional role (or liability) for bloggers, that of advertiser.
The plan, from the FTC’s advertising practices division, is scheduled for review this summer (read public comments on the plan). It involves holding bloggers liable (note: other social media are also affected) for false promotional statements made on their blogs, if they are paid, or otherwise compensated, for the promotion. Now the liability imposed on the blogger would not negate the responsibility of the product’s actual marketer nor is it designed to impact consumer product reviews.
Should the proposal take effect, it could be another case for the purchase of media liability insurance protections; however, the insurance is unlikely to respond if the blogger publishes intentionally false or misleading advertising as intentionally fraudulent advertising is a common exclusion in professional liability forms covering content. Some well-crafted disclaimers on the blogger’s site may also be of benefit to the blogger.