MARCO ISLAND, FL — As the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revisits its rules on auto-renewals and subscriptions, the digital media industry braces for potential impacts that could reverberate through consumer experiences and business models.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Lartease Tiffith, EVP of Public Policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), raises concerns about the proposed revisions.

He was speaking at the IAB’s own Annual Leadership Meeting 2024.

Regulatory Revisions Could Hamper Consumer Experiences

Tiffith argues that the FTC’s proposed rules may not necessarily enhance consumer protection but rather add unnecessary complexity.

“Some of them don’t make sense,” he says, emphasizing that the intended consumer safeguards could backfire by complicating how businesses serve their customers.

Tiffith says the rules “would mean higher cost for consumers and businesses” and could inject “more friction in the services that businesses provide consumers.”

The Debate Over Children’s Online Privacy

The FTC’s proposed changes around the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) also draw criticism from Tiffith.

“We all support protecting kids,” he states, highlighting the shared goal of safeguarding children’s online experiences. However, he counters that the way the FTC is approaching this issue could have detrimental effects, “not going to actually lead to better online experiences for kids, but actually in some ways it actually will impact kids negatively.”

The proposed changes, including a double opt-in for parents, could reduce the availability of content for kids, he says.

Tiffith warns this could create a divide where “only those who are wealthy can afford to actually have good content.”

Political Advertising in the Spotlight

As political campaign spending reaches new heights globally, Tiffith anticipates increased scrutiny on political advertising, disinformation, and transparency.

He notes recent EU regulations requiring disclosures about ad support, payment, and electoral influence: “I expect in the US we’re going to see similar things like that as well,” he anticipates, signaling a move toward greater transparency.

AI’s role in political campaigns also garners attention, with proposals surfacing to mandate disclosures if generative AI creates content. “People are going to really, really be concerned about what happened in the election of 2016,” Tiffith remarks, emphasizing the push for clarity to prevent misinformation during the upcoming elections.

You’re watching “Digital Media in Transition”, a Beet.TV Leadership Series at IAB ALM 2024 presented by Sharethrough. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.