Statement of FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich Regarding Court of Appeals Decision on Jerk.com

Case Alleged Deception on Website Allowing People to Vote Whether Individuals Are Jerks

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For Release

The Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruling upholding a Federal Trade Commission summary decision against John Fanning, the creator of Jerk.com:

“This ruling makes it clear that the defendant’s misrepresentations in this case were harmful to consumers.” Rich said. “We are pleased with the ruling, and will closely monitor the defendant’s compliance with the order, as we do in all our cases.”

In its ruling, the Court affirmed the Commission’s finding that Jerk.com and Fanning deceived consumers about the source of the information contained on the site and the benefits of paying for membership in the site.

It also upheld the bulk of the Commission’s remedial order, including prohibiting Fanning from making further deceptive statements, requiring him to maintain records of advertising and marketing materials and notify the FTC of any complaints related to misleading or deceptive statements, and requiring him to provide a copy of the order to employees and officers of companies Fanning operates whose work is relevant to the order.

The Court vacated a requirement that Fanning give the FTC updates on his employment status for jobs unrelated to his unlawful activity and remanded to the Commission for further deliberations on this part of the order.

The FTC first filed suit against Fanning and Jerk.com in 2014.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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