Social Media Precautions — Part One

Before you jump on twitter or Facebook to talk about your favorite wines, make sure you’re compliant with the TTB’s restrictions on social media. Today’s blog will cover the current climate — what federal law requirements and what the changes are to certain social media. 

Federal law prohibits advertisements of wine, spirits, and beer from deceiving consumers by using misleading statements (whether false or not) and requires that advertising contain adequate information to the identity and quality of what is being advertised. The TTB is tasked with creating the regulations for alcoholic advertisements. (You can read them yourself at 27 CFR parts 4, 5, and 7.)
Those regulations require mandatory statements to be (1) conspicuous and readily legible; (2) clearly a part of the advertisement; and (3) readily apparent to the reader.
Social media can connect but also violate the law, in the wrong hands

Social media can connect but also violate the law, in the wrong hands

The TTB, which had regularly reviewed advertising in print media, recently produced rules related to social media — media which tends to be far more interactive and timely. This includes Facebook fan pages, those pages which consumers “like” or follow.
In including those social media sites under the traditional media umbrella, the TTB now expressly subjects those pages — the entire fan page, including the home page and all sub pages — to the “mandatory statement” rules. This means that the mandatory statements on fan pages may not be hidden or buried on a hidden URL. Videos about your beverages on video sharing sites must also include mandatory statements, on the specific channel page or — if you don’t have such a page — on the video itself.
In a few weeks, we’ll talk about the changed specifics for blogs, microblogs such as twitter and Tumblr, apps, and QR code social media.
Foto image from Big Foto.