On December 4, 2018, the New York Attorney General (NYAG) announced that Oath Inc., which was known until June 2017 as AOL Inc. (AOL), has agreed to pay a $4.95 million civil penalty to settle allegations that AOL’s ad exchange practices violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The $4.95 million penalty is the largest ever assessed by any regulator in a COPPA enforcement matter.
On March 15, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission reached an agreement with Lord & Taylor to settle charges that the luxury department store brand engaged in allegedly deceptive native advertising practices by failing to disclose and accurately represent its relationship to online magazines and fashion “influencers” who promoted the brand. This latest enforcement action follows the FTC’s release of a policy statement on native advertising practices and a companion set of guidelines for businesses. The action provides a cautionary tale with practical lessons about the importance of transparency in marketing strategies that mimic the look and feel of surrounding content.