Listen to this post

On September 14, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release announcing the publication of a staff paper about blurred advertising. In the staff paper, the FTC describes blurred advertising as the blending of ads with digital media content (e.g., displaying ads within online games and virtual reality worlds). The FTC warns that these ads are not readily identifiable as marketing by consumers and pose a significant threat to young children who do not have the skills or cognitive defenses to identify and understand this type of advertising. The FTC recommends that advertisers take certain actions to reduce the harm to children stemming from blurred advertising, including not blurring ads and clearly delineating kids’ content from advertising through the use of visual and verbal cues. Other recommendations provided in the staff paper include the provision of timely and robust disclosures when using embedded ads, the development of a prominent ad-identifying icon, and increased parental control options on platforms to limit or block advertising.