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Ethics alert: PR firm busted for social media deception

The FTC just busted Reverb Communications for lying in social media. Their employees were pretending to be consumers, posting fake reviews, and failing to disclose that they were paid.

Full details here.

Folks, if you lie in social media, you will get caught.

  • The FTC enforcement campaign is just beginning
  • Truthfulness and disclosure are the law, not an option
  • You are legally responsible if your agency does something sleazy in your name

Now is the time to review your agencies and grill them hard. Are they going to humiliate your brand?

If your agency hasn’t already given you in-depth social media ethics training — you should be worried. If this is news to you — you need to replace them.

If you haven’t prepared your disclosure policy, use the Social Media Business Council’s Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit to create yours. Watch this video to understand how to stay out of trouble.

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Comments

  1. Nick Stamoulis September 13, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    Honesty is best, these days, there are ways of tracking that even we as industry professionals don’t know about. Better to be safe than sorry and stay honest.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Honesty is the best policy | Dave Delaney - Community Enthusiast, Social Media Strategist, Marketing and Promotions Fella - September 6, 2010

    […] I shared a post on my posterous blog by Andy Sernovitz about a PR firm that got busted by the FTC for pretending to be consumers, posting fake reviews, […]