On November 30, 2016, the FTC released a staff summary (the “Summary”) of a public workshop called Putting Disclosures to the Test. The workshop, which was held on September 15, 2016, examined ways of testing and evaluating company disclosures regarding advertising claims and privacy practices. The Summary reviews the workshop and its key takeaways.

Nearly 1,000 participants (including online participants) attended the September 15 workshop. In her opening remarks at the workshop, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez noted that “ineffective disclosures can overwhelm, confuse, or even distract consumers from making informed choices” and that businesses should “pay attention to ensuring that disclosures provide useful information that can translate into consumer action.” The workshop covered disclosure effectiveness, case studies and future approaches, and applications to disclosure design. The extent to which consumers pay attention to and understand advertising and privacy disclosures was a focus of the workshop, whose theme, as stated by Chairwoman Ramirez, was to encourage “meaningful and useful disclosures.” The Summary explains that effective disclosures contain essential information and are noticed, understood and used by consumers in their decision-making.

View slides, video transcripts and materials referenced in speaker presentations and photographs from the workshop.