U.S. Court Overrules FTC, Orders IAB Insight be Included in “Dark Patterns” Case Affecting Future of Advertising

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite objections from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a U.S. court has found that information from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is important to a fair outcome in a lawsuit against Amazon that could “engrain a momentous change in legal precedent that will affect the entire advertising industry,” according to IAB. The FTC had sought to block the leading trade association from filing an amicus brief exposing problems with the agency’s lawsuit against the online retailer.

In its amicus brief, or “friend of the court” filing, which IAB submitted last month to assist the U.S. District Court for Western Washington to make a just decision, IAB warns the FTC is misrepresenting standard advertising practices, which the agency itself employs, and overstepping its legal and constitutional authority. A ruling in favor of the FTC could subject everything from text color, size, and position to unpredictable punishment and broadly threaten First Amendment-protected commercial speech, or “truthful marketing that the FTC deems to be too convincing.” The FTC failed to block IAB comments from proceedings.

In its reply, IAB successfully argues for their inclusion to enhance the court’s understanding of digital advertising and marketing issues. “Contrary to the FTC’s arguments, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s proposed amicus brief provides this Court with a unique and important perspective born from IAB’s nearly three decades of experience involving issues in digital advertising and marketing,” writes IAB. The FTC may disagree with IAB’s perspective, “but none of the FTC’s arguments are cogent reasons for disallowing IAB’s participation.”

Offering additional data and context from interested parties, amicus briefs can help to prevent court rulings with unintended consequences. “Whatever happens with Amazon, IAB and its members are gravely concerned about the threat to truthful speech in advertising and uneven, subjective enforcement,” states IAB.

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership comprises more than 700 leading media companies, brands, agencies, and the technology firms responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital ad marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, IAB develops technical standards and solutions. IAB is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the trade association advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, IAB is headquartered in New York City.

IAB Media Contacts
Kate Tumino / Brittany Tibaldi
212-896-1252 / 347-487-6794
[email protected]/ [email protected]

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