Be afraid, be very afraid

If you blog, you’ve probably heard about the new FTC ruling.

Slate’s got a new piece up about it now.

Allowing these guidelines to take effect would be like giving the government a no-knock warrant to investigate hundreds of thousands of blogs and hundreds of millions of Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter users for … saying nice things about goods and services. [FTC spokesman Richard] Cleland tells Ad Age that a restaurant employee who gave his eatery a good review on Yelp would have to disclose. Given the billions of opinionated postings on the Web, there would be no end to FTC’s work.

Because of a pesky thing called the First Amendment, the guidelines don’t apply to news organizations, which receive thousands of free books, CDs, and DVDs each day from media companies hoping for reviews. But if the guidelines don’t apply to established media like the New York Review of Books, which also happens to publish reviews on the Web, why should they apply to Joe Blow’s blog? Regulating bloggers via the FTC while exempting establishment reporters looks like a back-door means of licensing journalists and policing speech.

This is a federal power grab of epic proportions, folks.

One more reason we need to pass the Federalism Amendment.

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