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Author Archive | Sylva Sivz

FTC Compliance – What You Didn’t Know About Online Endorsements

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FTC 101

The Federal Trade Commission aims to prevent business practices that are anticompetitive, deceptive or unfair to consumers and its regulations affect businesses trading in every industry. One of its most sweeping regulations is Section 5 of the Federal Trade Act, which addresses appropriate commercial speech to help put an end to deceptive advertising. The FTC has evolved its rules under the act to apply to the ever-evolving world of online advertising. What many companies, review sites, bloggers, and celebrities don’t realize is that if they share content with commercial messages that convey personal enjoyment of a product/service with followers and get compensated for it, their actions are considered endorsements. These endorsements require clear disclosures of the relationship with the product/service provider.To provide guidance on complying with these rules, The FTC released the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising to serve as a framework for complying with the relevant FTC regulations. Here is an overview of some expectations:
  1. Endorsements apply to social media and new technology as it evolves. For Twitter, with a 140 character count limit, the use of hashtags #ad #paidad can be sufficient.
  2. Disclosures for videos are not sufficient in the video descriptions or only at the beginning of the video. Disclosures must be displayed throughout the video for all to see at any point they tune in.
  3. Social media contests that require entrants to tweet or share for a chance to win must incorporate disclosures as part of the contest share messaging and contest terms.
  4. Free products given to customers for online reviews (positive or negative) are considered endorsements. This should be mentioned on review pages.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

While these guides are not considered formal regulations, the FTC has warned that it will be leading investigations and taking immediate action for practices that fall outside of the guidelines in a way that violates the rules in the Federal Trade Act.Penalties for non-compliance can range from a written warning letter to a fine of $11,000 per incident. In other cases, these fines have been much higher; as in the case of Legacy Learning Systems, a popular provider of guitar-lesson DVDs, charged with $250,000 for advertising products through paid online affiliate marketers, and having them falsely pose as objective customers. Machinima also settled similar charges with the FTC for paying YouTube video creators up to $30,000 for their video reviews without disclosing so.

PageFreezer Announces New Partnership with Intradyn

PageFreezer is pleased to announce a new partnership with Email Archiving & eDiscovery provider, Intradyn.

Intradyn is a recognized leader in email archiving, producing cutting-edge products for organizations of all sizes in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and the Asia-Pacific Rim. Intradyn is now offering cloud-based , hardware and virtual appliance email archiving solutions.


The partnership has been formed to expand Intradyn’s offering with social media archiving capabilities, having PageFreezer and Intradyn integrate their solutions to support Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram message capture and storage to meet regulatory compliance and Open Records requirements

“Customers can now immediately benefit from this partnership by securely archiving their social media messages in Intradyn’s platform,” says Michael Riedyk, CEO of PageFreezer. “We very much look forward to working together to deliver the very best message archiving solutions for compliance, legal and business purposes”

Stay tuned for what’s to come.

Why Social Media Archiving is a Must Have for Financial Services

Ever since social media first came into our lives with the emergence of platforms like MySpace in the early 2000s, it has shown no signs of slowing down. Today, over 30% of the world’s population utilizes some type of online community. In the U.S, that number amounts to 73%. Facebook itself has more active users than China’s entire population of 1.40 billion! While social media offers the benefits of extended reach, flexibility and freedom as a means of communication, financial services firms can find themselves at serious risk if they fail to archive social media content like other business communications. 

Why social media archiving is a must-have for financial services

Organizations across industries have jumped on the opportunity to use social media as a tool for branding, customer service, and sales –  with a projection that digital sales could account for more than 40% of new inflow revenue within the next 5 years. One industry experiencing particularly high returns on the investment in social media is the financial services industry, with year-to-year growth averaging 31%. In a recent survey, 79% of Financial Advisors said they had successfully acquired new clients through social media.

While social media offers the benefits of extended reach, flexibility and freedom as a means of communication, financial services firms can find themselves at serious risk if they fail to treat social media like other business communications, equally subject to regulatory laws by FINRA, SEC and FDA, including but not limited to:

Rule 17a-3 and Rule 17-a4

In a recent regulatory notice concerning blogs and social networking sites, FINRA stated that firms must retain records of all business-related electronic communications to remain compliant with Rule 17a-3 and Rule 17a-4 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and NASD.

Rule 17a-4(b)

The SEC issued a rule that requires firms to keep records for business communications made via social media, even if only distributed internally. It also stated that broker-dealers must preserve records for a period of not less than three years, with the first two in an easily accessible place.

Rule 4511

This law requires organizations to preserve records under FINRA and SEA rules, in a format that complies with SEA rule 17-a. It also requires record preservation for 6 years

Regulatory Notice 10-6 and 1139

These laws focus on issues relating to FINRA members’ use of social media, including record-keeping, supervision and responding to third-party posts and links.

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in hefty fines, bad publicity, and ultimately loss of business. In April 2015, WealthForge, LLC was fined $20,000 for failure to use an  adequate supervisory system that captured, reviewed and retained social media communications used by its representatives.

Later in the year, Scottrade Inc was fined an astonishing $2.6 million for failing to implement a supervisory system or retain securities-related electronic records in the required format stated by the rules.

While there are a few options for collecting the required records for compliance, social media archiving is the most relevant technology solution that automatically monitors specified social media feeds and archives all activity associated with that feed. It also provides authentication, so that the record can be verified. Financial Services firms are in dire need of social media archiving technology; and as new rules continue to come into play in the future, they simply cannot afford a delay.


PageFreezer is a leader in the online archiving industry. We’ve been developing our state-of-the-art cloud-based system since 2010, helping over 500 clients including financial firms, multinationals, and government agencies meet their compliance requirements. We know the rules inside and out, and have the technology and systems for easy, simple, affordable social media compliance.