FTC Issues New Endorsement Guides, Takes Hard Line On Disclosures

One would think that the wind industry's "army of bloggers" which we have read about, may well be in violation of FTC rules when they post online comments pushing a wind project, etc. without disclosing their ties. For example, a farmer who stands to get lease payments from a wind developer if a project goes in might blog or comment online as to why the project is great. If that farmer doesn't disclose his financial relationship to the project, it would seem that he may be in violation. If a wind company's PR firm is doing the same on behalf of a wind company, it would seem they would be in violation.

9/8/17

Social media users who have any relationships with the businesses or people they endorse -- even friendships or family ties -- should disclose those connections when writing reviews, posting on Instagram and tweeting, the Federal Trade Commission advises in newly updated guidance.
The FTC has recommended since at least 2009 that online endorsers disclose material connections between themselves and companies that wouldn't otherwise be apparent to consumers. In its newest update, issued this week, the agency continues to take a broad view of the kinds of connections that require disclosures.........................

https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/307077/ftc-issues-ne...

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Comment by Long Islander on September 9, 2017 at 12:41pm

There are of course highly blatant instances of paid writers not disclosing their wind industry ties. An example would be an environmental group which incessantly writes in favor of desecrating Maine with wind turbines and which in a separate place (such as on its website) makes note of the fact that they received $10,000+ from a Maine wind developer. The reader of the pro-wind newspaper piece (on or offline) may read below the article that the writer is the director of a Maine environmental group. But if it does not in the same place state that said environmental group takes wind money, there has been no disclosure. The reader, who may judge the veracity of the writer's arguments on the basis of the environmental group's once good reputation, has no idea that the writer's employer is taking wind money. That seems to me to be an outright violation of disclosure requirements. What's so horrible is that it's largely taxpayer money that funds the wind company contributions to the environmental groups which, in my view, should require 100% disclosure by these groups of the exact amounts received from wind companies or third party front groups such as foundations which give grants. And yes, I believe such third party groups should also be required to 100% disclosure of the exact amounts they receive from wind companies. The disclosure requirements should not be foiled by the existence of such buffers. Disclosure requirements involving any funds dependent on taxpayer dollars should follow the money from taxpayer dollar funding through all such buffers. This of course affects a myriad of areas beyond wind. But if we are ever to put a stake in the heart of the rigged game of crony capitalism that gives the average citizen virtually no chance, then this type of transparency must happen. Ditto for things like the unidentifiable shell companies where all one can learn of is their post office box, e.g., Angus King/Yale Endowment's "Bayroot".

Comment by Long Islander on September 9, 2017 at 12:18pm

I would think that in keeping with the spirit of the FTC rules, any form of online wind project advocacy from a person standing to benefit financially should require disclosure. However, enforcement would not seem pragmatic, although it would be nice if media where comments are placed would include a prominently placed requirement of disclosure next to where the commenting is made. The other way to stop commenting by wind shills would be to investigate the source, i.e., wind developers themselves and other wind related entities. If it could be shown that those at the source are financially benefitting from wind and also pushing this sort of "astroturf" commenting, then it might be indeed pragmatic to effect a crackdown on such fake messaging.

Comment by Eskutassis on September 9, 2017 at 11:12am

I don't think so Penny

Comment by Penny Gray on September 9, 2017 at 11:06am

When you write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, they require validation of the writer's identity before they print it, and affiliations are mentioned by the author's name.  I wonder if these rules will every apply to commenting to articles on-line.

Comment by Eskutassis on September 9, 2017 at 11:03am

Sad to say, most of the commenters on the news articles are anonymous. I know my persona on those comments may be compromised by the Letters to the Editor I write, and the couple of Op Eds published, but since I use a few, . . . . . well maybe I am anonymous. I don't think there is much we can do about most of it. We do know a bunch of the other side commenters are associated with wind and solar.  

Comment by Penny Gray on September 9, 2017 at 7:42am

This should be a mandate, not a suggestion.

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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