This Week in Tech: FTC to look at native ads

The Federal Trade Commission will hold a workshop Wednesday to examine native advertising, or “the blending of advertisements with news, entertainment, and other editorial content in digital media.”

In a statement, FTC attorney Laura Sullivan said the workshop “builds on other recent FTC initiatives to understand the implications for consumers as digital advertising evolves.”

Sullivan pointed to the agency’s recent work in this area, such as an update to its “Dot Com Disclosures” guidelines earlier this year. The March update stressed that labels for online advertising must be “clear and conspicuous” whether the ad is being viewed on a computer, tablet, smartphone or other device.

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The updated guidelines also require advertisements to be clearly labeled even in short-form content, such as tweets, and suggest beginning sponsored tweets with “Ad:” to inform consumers while taking up minimal space.

“A common theme among all these efforts is that consumers should understand when they are receiving an advertising or promotional message,” Sullivan said.

A keynote from FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez will begin the daylong workshop, which will include representatives from the Huffington Post, Hearst, Mashable, The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed and consumer advocates Michelle DeMooy from Consumer Action and Robert Weissman from Public Citizen.

On Tuesday, the four current FTC commissioners — Chairwoman Ramirez and Commissioner Julie Brill, who are Democrats, and Republican Commissioners Maureen Ohlhausen and Joshua Wright — will appear in front of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Commerce.

The hearing will examine the agency’s plan moving forward as it turns 100 next year. According to the majority memo, the committee will consider whether the FTC can be using its resources more efficiently and whether the agency’s authority should be altered.

The Federal Communications Commission will hold an event Friday to showcase mobile technologies that are used to improve healthcare. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will deliver opening remarks, and attendees will hear from representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, the National Institutes of Health, Verizon, Qualcomm and other mobile tech companies.

Intel, the Aspen Institute and the Bipartisan Policy Center have teamed up for a Friday event about “the implications of the big data ‘information revolution’ for innovation, economic growth, privacy and security in our increasingly connected world.”

The event will begin with a keynote interview including Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and former AOL CEO Steve Case. The rest of the day will include remarks by U.S. Deputy CTO Nick Sinai and former Rep. Jim Turner (D-Texas).