Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FTC Regulates Our Speech

The Federal Trade Commission thinks it needs to stick its nose into goofy little blogs like mine:
The Federal Trade Commission just released rules to regulate product endorsements not just in advertisements but also on blogs. (PDF here; the regs don’t start until page 55.)

It is a monument to unintended consequence, hidden dangers, and dangerous assumptions.

So when I'm posting my lame reviews on movies and books and music, I'm supposed to be disclosing any kind of connection I may have with the authors or publishers or composers or artists or - well, you get the picture. So my readers will know how biased my opinion is.


Of course, this little blog is far below the FTC's radar and I'll be able to freely express my opinion without full disclosure (Full disclosure: I have nothing to disclose) and I won't likely be penalized by the government for doing so. But the big guns out there won't and that's where the problem is. The FTC thinks readers of blogs are too helpless to figure out for themselves what bloggers are shills for big interests and which aren't.

The marketplace would more quickly solve the problems over which the FTC is wringing its hands. Readers of blogs that advocate without disclosure for bigger interests would soon leave those blogs in droves once they found out the expressed opinions were less than sound. Amazing how that works. People are actually able to make decisions for themselves.

This may seem like a small thing but it's not. It's another example of the nanny-state intruding in matters which it has no business. Beware of worse things to come.

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