You read the news to get the facts. But what happens when that “newsy” site isn’t news at all?
A company that used fake news sites to push acai berry supplements and other weight loss products has agreed to settle FTC charges. The agency has already stopped others that used wanna-be news sites and phony testimonials from supposed reporters to push their products. The M.O. is to make people think the site — and the reporters — are part of legitimate and trusted news organizations, name-dropping CNN and Consumer Reports, among others, to add credibility. But the fact is the sites were ads, masquerading as news.
White House Senior Director for Community Partnerships on the National Security Staff
Today, the White House released a policy statement to counter violent extremist use of the Internet to recruit and radicalize to violence in the United States. The original statement can be seen on The White House Blog and the full text is shown here:
The American public increasingly relies on the Internet for socializing, business transactions, gathering information, entertainment, and creating and sharing content. The rapid growth of the Internet has brought opportunities but also risks, and the Federal Government is committed to empowering members of the public to protect themselves against the full range of online threats, including online radicalization to violence.
Today, the FTC announced a settlement with Path — a social networking site that promoted itself as a different kind of social network. Primarily available to users through a mobile app, Path claimed that it “should be private by default. Forever. You should always be in control of your information and experience.”
That’s a nice sentiment, but the FTC charged that what Path told people it was doing with their personal information didn’t jibe with what was going on behind the scenes.
Last October, the FTC challenged innovators to create solutions to block those annoying — and illegal — robocalls. We’re happy to announce that we received 744 eligible submissions before the FTC Robocall Challenge closed on January 17, 2013. You can check out a brief description of each entry in the Challenge submission gallery. Way to go, innovators!
The 15th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is March 3 - 9. Government agencies, advocacy organizations, and private sector groups from coast to coast have come together here to share information that can help you make smart decisions about a slew of subjects, including privacy protection, money and debt management, and recognizing identity theft, frauds and scams.
Data privacy is so important, there’s a day dedicated to it. The National Cyber Security Alliance is kicking off Data Privacy Day with an event on January 28, 2013, at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. Panelists will explore data stewardship and privacy innovation, as well as the implications for personal information in an on-demand mobile environment. FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen will keynote the event.
It’s that time of year again. If you’re a college student seeking financial aid, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as you can. While the deadline for submitting the FAFSA is June 30th, many states and schools allocate funds on a first-come, first-served basis, and some states have deadlines for filing the FAFSA to be eligible for certain kinds of aid.
Assistant Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
A favorite trick for rip-off artists is to pretend to represent a trustworthy and respected organization. Today — and we mean that literally — we’re hearing from businesses that have received email exploiting the good name of the Federal Trade Commission. We don’t want you to lose money or valuable information to a scam artist sending a phony message claiming you’re a target of the FTC.