The FTC Tête-à-Tête on Twitter

If you’ve been following the digital discourse set off by the alleged $11,000 fine levied this week by the FTC against some bloggers, then you might enjoy Thursday evening’s Twitter exchange between BuzzMachine‘s Jeff Jarvis and Mediashift‘s Mark Glazer (@mediatwit).

In case you’ve been out of the country, the FTC finally instituted its guidelines designed to ferret out commercial deception in the social spheres. Mathew Ingram managed to tease out the tête-à-tête by twipping off Jeff to Mark’s POV on the new rules.

Here’s the exchange as it unfolded in 140-character twincrements:

mathewi: @jeffjarvis? RT @mediatwit: I think the FTC rules are good. I doubt they will enforce every tiny thing and any push for transparency is good

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Good, God, Mark, you endorse the FTC rules in a tweet? Shall we discuss govt interference in public speech? The 1st Amendment?

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit And I don’t buy the FTC’s pr on this: ‘Oh, don’t worry about us.’ What matters is the rules. Successors will enforce.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit But do the FTC rules extend to journalists on papers, magazines? No. So bloggers become 2nd class citizens w/fewer rights.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Of course, transparency is good. But you think govt should define & enforce it just for a) bloggers and b) celebs but not hacks?

mediatwit: @jeffjarvis And what shouldn’t be enforced? Are you defending blogger’s rights to deceive people with reviews?

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Then use existing fraud laws against anyone who defrauds (including the press). Don’t single out bloggers.

mathewi: @jeffjarvis: hey, maybe @mediatwit was compensated by the FTC for that positive tweet — that would be so meta 🙂

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Let’s push for transparency in govt first. And business. And journalism. Bloggers are citizens talking.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Government regulation of speech chills speech. It is a 1st Amendment matter. We should be defending speech.

mediatwit: @jeffjarvis Defending the 1st Amendment is one thing. Defending deceptive business practices, false advertisements on blogs is different.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit If I say something nice about BestBuy after speaking there I’m now liable. What’s deceptive there? If Pogue does, he’s not. Huh?

: RT @mathewi: @jeffjarvis: hey, maybe @mediatwit was compensated by the FTC for that positive tweet — that would be so meta 🙂

: @jeffjarvis What kind of speech will be chilled? Reviews of products on blogs? You really think bloggers will stop reviewing things?

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit See my Post, Mark. It’s much more complex than 140 characters.

mediatwit: @jeffjarvis @mathewi The FTC is totally right! [This tweet paid for by the FTC] #joking

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Yes, Mark, they will. They are now in jeopardy. Pogue isn’t. Papers should be defending bloggers right. As I’d think you would

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit I was about to say something nice about BestBuy but I am indeed liable. I’m chilled. No deception. Life under govt regulation.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Now say something nice about the LAT, CNET, Conde, NYT, EW, Merc, Nieman and then you must disclose or risk fine.

mediatwit: @jeffjarvis I will concede that disclosure is good, but if the FTC is really going to enforce in every tiny case, there would be a problem.

mediatwit: @jeffjarvis Why can’t you say something nice about Best Buy after speaking there? Just disclose. I would want that as your reader.

mediatwit: @jeffjarvis If I write in-depth about PBS, LAT, USC, I do disclose that I work or worked for them. It makes sense to me.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit I do disclose. (expand) That is my choice. I don’t want it by govt. fiat and under risk of prosecution. Do you? Truly?

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Only in-depth? What about a tweet? You’re a media critic and you’ve been paid by media you write about. I trust you. Govt? No.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Murdoch wasn’t right about Delph, MySpace, LondonPaper…..

mediatwit: @jeffjarvis No, you are right. I like the idea of disclosure, but after

jeffjarvis: RT @mediatwit No, you’re right. I like the idea of disclosure, but after looking at the rules, they don’t make sense. Doubt they’d be legal

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit bravo, mark. i salute you.

mediatwit: @jeffjarvis I agree that these rules have nothing to do with people who are NOT being paid by companies currently.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit We agree abt PayPerPost et al. I hate them. But the FTC sullies and puts at risk all bloggers – citizens talking – as a result.

jeffjarvis: @mediatwit Th
ey should enforce fraud laws. But leave speech unregulated.

In case you weren’t following the Twitfight between @jeffjarvis and @mediatwit over the new FTC rules, @jeffjarvis won 🙂