US How the Federal Trade Commission could (maybe) crack down on fake news

20:30  30 january  2017
20:30  30 january  2017 Source:   MSN

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FTC cracks down on bogus online news sites that are actually ads. 2 settlements announced with firms accused of hoodwinking consumers. The Federal Trade Commission cites this as a fake news Web page.

Yes, the FTC is finally getting around to shutting down the fake news websites. The FTC writes… he Federal Trade Commission is requesting federal courts to temporarily halt the allegedly deceptive tactics of 10 operations using fake news websites to market acai berry weight-loss products.

Police surrounded Comet Ping Pong, a Washington pizza parlor that was the subject of a fake news story claiming it was the center of a child sex ring orchestrated by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, after a man with an assault rifle entered the restaurant. © Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA Police surrounded Comet Ping Pong, a Washington pizza parlor that was the subject of a fake news story claiming it was the center of a child sex ring orchestrated by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, after a man with an assault rifle entered the restaurant.

Are some news articles like acai berry fat-loss supplement offers? The answer could help determine whether U.S. elections can shed the weight of false information.

In an article published Monday by the New Jersey State Bar Association, MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber argues that the news is as much a product as a diet pill — and that the fake variety could be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission in the same way as phony claims about the belly-blasting power of a certain botanical.

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For instance, if you have enough information to identify someone or something that you’ve got an issue with, you may be able to bring this up to the Federal Trade Commission (or FTC ). The whole thing looked quite fake to me. Maybe something to report too.

Unfortunately, if the wild proliferation of fake news sites has taught us anything, it’s that when presented with conflicting information, humans will simply choose to believe whichever slant suits them. Health Medicine News Federal Trade Commission Drugs.

It's a complicated contention.

"Absent the existence of libel, Supreme Court precedents suggest that the First Amendment protects a citizen expressing lies or their version of fake news," conceded Melber, who has a law degree from Cornell. "Political operatives have strong case law to defend deceptive assertions as protected speech, especially if they show that the lies are part of some wider expression, be it political, satirical or artistic."

However, Melber added, "the court has ruled that some commercial speech, like advertising or communication concerned solely with business, gets less First Amendment protection than political speech."

If the FTC and the court system could agree that fake news isn't really a form of political discourse but is, instead, a kind of commercial offering in which "the political misinformation is the product," then perhaps America's consumer-protection agency could stop some of it, Melber believes.

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For years, the Federal Trade Commission has been combatting scammy marketers of weight-loss products who use fake news sites, fictional reporters, and bogus celebrity endorsements, but people keep trying to pull Court Rules That Police Can Force You To Tell Them Your Phone's Passcode.

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that it is asking federal courts to enact a permanent ban #main internet marketing discussion forum #as seen on # cracking # fake # ftc # news #sites. How many get extra interviews or air time because of how much they spent on advertising.

In an interview, Melber zeroed in on fabricated articles concocted by foreign click-bait artists as one example of the kind of content he believes could be regulated. For example: BuzzFeed reported in November on a bunch of teenagers in Macedonia who did not care about U.S. politics but discovered that making up stories about Donald Trump was a good way to draw traffic and, as a result, generate ad revenue.

"A simple way to put it would be: If a site has even 10 percent political expression by Americans, the Supreme Court suggests it's protected," Melber said. But if a site is 100 percent Macedonian commerce and is fraudulently counterfeiting a protected American product, it may not have the protection of the First Amendment."

David C. Vladeck, former director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said he shares Melber's frustration with fake news but is skeptical that the agency could combat it in the way the MSNBC correspondent suggests. Vladeck noted the FTC has shut down sites that masquerade as news while selling tangible products, like those acai-berry supplements; he doubts that fake news itself could be considered a product, however — especially if people do not pay to read it.

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The Federal Trade Commission is requesting federal courts to temporarily halt the allegedly deceptive tactics of 10 operations using fake news websites to market acai berry weight-loss products. The FTC seeks to permanently stop this misleading practice and has asked courts to freeze the operations’

News . Quick Takes. The FTC is seeking both monetary relief for researchers that have published with OMICS and to prevent the publisher from further violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914.

"The FTC's jurisdiction extends only to cases where someone is trying to sell something," said Vladeck, now a law professor at Georgetown. "Fake news stories that get circulated or planted or tweeted around are not trying to induce someone to purchase a product; they're trying to induce someone to believe an idea. There are all sorts of First Amendment problems, apart from, I think, the insuperable jurisdiction problems, that the FTC would have."

Vladeck said he recognizes that some fake news sites are engaged in commerce, in the sense that they sell advertisements, but those ad sales are based on real web traffic.

"The deception doesn't take place in the selling," he said. "It just takes place as a door opener to get people on the page."

As Vladeck sees it, false information is not the product; the product purchased by advertisers on fake news sites is exposure to the sites' visitors. In that case, he said, "the deceptive claim doesn't really relate to the product."

Melber, however, is optimistic that fake news websites' commercial purposes could be enough to make at least some of them subject to FTC oversight.

"I think it's a worthwhile challenge to explore, rather than preemptively surrendering and saying, 'Well, if we can't stop all of it or some of it's protected speech for good reason, then nobody should do anything about it,' " he said.

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