Bloggers absolutely need to disclose when they receive a product from a company. If they received this item for free – or better yet, were paid to take the item and blog about it – it will severely skew their post about it. If they say terrible things about the product, why would the company want to send them anything else? And if they say great things about the product, why wouldn’t the company want to send more? In addition, merely receiving the product for free adds a strong connotation to the product before it is even used, and there aren’t the feelings of wasted hard-earned money if the product doesn’t turn out well. Just like reviewers on Amazon who are paid to write reviews, disclosure of this information is necessary.
While I do think that bloggers should be held as accountable for facts as fact-checkers, I know this is not the case. No one wants to be mislead by false information, but no one really wants to spend an extra week per blog post to ensure all facts are correct, either. Maybe someday we will live in a world where you can in fact believe everything you read, but today is not that day, nor is it any day close. This is also what makes fact checking difficult, because other seemingly reliable sources can have wrong information as well. This makes is especially hard for bloggers, as they don’t have access to the same resources nor the experience of real fact-checkers.