The Federal Trade Commission announced it wouldn’t be looking into Ashton Kutcher’s editorial for Details magazine, Betabeat reported.
As BetaBeat explained, Kutcher’s article for the magazine’s “online-only” issue “touts a nmber of hot tech start-ups.” However, Kutcher has business relationships with ten of those 12 companies, according to Gawker.
And, the promotions don’t disclose Kutcher’s investor role “beyond the throw-away line in the intro that he “puts his money where his mouth is, backing many of the companies he champions here,'” according to BetaBeat.
The NYTimes reported the FTC’s Richard Cleland stated
“If you’re out there promoting individual products that you have a specific investment in, it needs to be disclosed.” Cleland who is the assistant director of the division of advertising practices “If you have a significant economic investment that is not otherwise apparent, that may potentially affect the credibility of your endorsement, and I see that as a potential problem.”
The FTC later tweeted that it wouldn’t be examining Kutcher’s article: “The FTC is not and has no plans to investigate Ashton Kutcher—Bureau of Consumer Protection Director David Vladeck @aplusk”
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The New Zealand Herald reported that Details’ editor-in-chief, Dan Peres, defended the report:
“I stand by how we communicated Ashton’s involvement with some of the companies included in our coverage and remain extremely proud of the work we did on this project. I can assure you that Ashton is not looking at our 500,000 readers as an opportunity to feather his nest.”
As iMediaEthics wrote in 2009 when the new guidelines were released, the FTC’s new guidelines affect bloggers. For example, bloggers who receive free movie tickets must disclose that freebie when writing positively about that movie.
iMediaEthics wrote last month when Kutcher criticized the Village Voice for claiming his statistics on child sex slaves was inaccurate.