LEGAL UPDATE: Social Media Posts in the Workplace – A Guide for Businesses to Ensure Compliance with the FTC’s Guidanceby Katie Robinson | March 20, 2023
All endorsements or testimonials of goods and services made on social media are governed by the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising when the individual making the post has a “material connection” to the brand.
Under the FTC’s rules, an employee has a “material connection” to the brand and should “definitely disclose” the employment relationship when making an endorsement on social media for the company they work for.
What does this mean for employers?
The FTC requires that the endorsement message disclose the employee’s employment relationship when an employee “speaks” on social media, using their personal social media accounts, in a way that endorses or promotes the company’s product or service (even if that employees comments are not directed, sponsored, or authorized by the company)..
What satisfies the disclosure requirement?
Employees must disclose their employment relationship in connection with the social media post in simple and clear language and in a clear and conspicuous manner. More simply put, the disclosure must be placed so it is hard to miss.
Below is a list of recommended practices to follow when employees are creating or resharing endorsement or testimonial ads on social media:
- Use clear and conspicuous language in the post itself, such as “Check out my company’s new product…”.
- Include the employment relationship as close as possible to the claim being made or shared.
- Avoid employment relationship disclosures using hashtags or links hidden at the very bottom of the page.
- Ensure that any claims and statements that are made are honest and truthful.
What should employers do?
The FTC has issued the following guidelines for companies to comply:
- Establish a written social media policy that explicitly states acceptable and unacceptable conduct and sets forth these disclosure requirements.
- Consistently enforce the policy; and
- Provide employees with periodic and ongoing training.
Employers that direct employees to create or share the company’s social media posts should implement a policy and routinely monitor the posts for compliance.