Two new reports provide guidance for companies using digital marketing and independent contractors
By: David Bland
“Overall, when designing user interfaces, businesses should look not just at the effect their design choices have on sales, click-through rates, or other profit based metrics, but also on how those choices affect consumers’ understanding of the material terms of the transaction.” — FTC Staff Report
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently renewed its focus on two areas of business practice that Commissioners believe are in need of heightened regulatory attention: the use of digital “dark patterns” in the online marketplace and companies taking unfair advantage of gig workers. On Sept. 15, the FTC released two reports: the first, a staff report summarizing an April 2021 workshop on digital “dark patterns,” and the second, a policy statement on gig work enforcement.
Coming on the heels of the release of the FTC’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2022-2026 that included the strategic priorities of protecting the public from unfair or deceptive acts as well as anticompetitive practices in the marketplace, the September pronouncements provide a clear view into the Commission’s push for increased scrutiny of online sales and marketing practices as well as those companies that utilize independent contractors—putting direct sellers, among other marketers, in the crosshairs once again.
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