It’s, Like, Dishonest

March 07, 2013 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value:  Dunder Mifflin faces potential FTC sanctions for Erin and Pete’s fake “like” marketing campaign on Facebook.

“Customer Loyalty” aired back in January, and I highly recommend Kristin’s post questioning the validity of Dwight’s loyalty pledge.  I might add that such a pledge is probably not necessary considering that most states recognize in some form that employees owe their employers a duty of loyalty to act in the employer’s best interest, regardless of whether the employees have executed any restrictive covenants.

I was interested in a short scene where flirty duo, Erin and Pete, rejoice over their marketing scheme to generate fake “likes” for Dunder Mifflin’s Facebook page.  Turns out, this is not only dishonest, but also may violate FTC guidelines as well as Facebook’s internal policies.  In 2009 the FTC determined that paying for positive online reviews without disclosing such constitutes deceptive advertising.  This determination could be extended to prosecuting firms that generate fake “likes” for Facebook pages.  On August 31, 2012, Facebook announced that it was ratcheting up its automated detection and removal of “likes” that may have been generated “by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk likes.”  These measures are going to be necessary.  IT research firm, Gartner, Inc., predicts that by 2014, 10 to 15 percent of online reviews will be fake or paid for.

Nellie did not say anything to deter Erin and Pete from their dishonest scheme.  But I suppose if I was receiving backrubs from Toby I might be a little preoccupied myself.

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