That sounds reasonable enough, but what about the rest of us? Say for example, you work for Microsoft and become a fan of the company on Facebook or tweet about how much you love Windows 7. Now, what if you have not made it clear on your Facebook and Twitter profiles that you work for Microsoft? Some of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers might see your posts, and--knowing that you're an expert in technology, but not necessarily that you work for Microsoft--take your Windows 7 endorsement at face value. You still might love Windows 7, but you haven't made it clear that you're receiving financial compensation as a Microsoft employee. Under the new FTC guidelines, you may have just crossed the line. True, it's unlikely the FTC will be interested in you, but if you have a large amount of Twitter followers or Facebook friends, it might be a good idea to disclose your corporate affiliations.
Bottom Line: If you are going to tweet about how awesome your employer is, make sure everybody knows you work there
Chat Rooms, Message Boards and Commenting
Let's say you work at the Apple Store, and, under your own initiative, you start posting messages under online Zune reviews about how much more awesome the iPod Touch is than the Zune HD. If you haven't disclosed that you work for Apple, you've broken the FTC's rules.
Bottom Line: Don't post comments that undercut your company's competitors unless you make it clear who you are. This one is especially important to follow, since the FTC has dealt with this before.
While these new rules may seem confusing and perhaps even excessive, the FTC says it is not that interested in hitting individual bloggers or prominent social network users with heavy fines. Repeat offenders may end up being punished, but the new regulations are really about keeping corporations in line.
Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, says the regulatory body is more concerned with how advertisers pay for endorsements and reviews rather than the actions of individual bloggers and other online types, according to IDG News Service. That being said, the FTC can levy fines of up to $11,000, so if you're a big time blogger or prominent social media type (which can be anybody these days) it's potentially a lot cheaper to play by the rules.