The FTC Would Like to Remind Celebs and 'Influencers' to Clearly Disclose All #SPON

Does this look like the face of somebody impressed with your #SPON? Photo via AP Images.
Does this look like the face of somebody impressed with your #SPON? Photo via AP Images.

A passel of ~***influencers***~ have received chiding letters from the FTC, reminding them that they are supposed to keep things on the up and up when promoting weird crap nobody needs on social media.

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“After reviewing numerous Instagram posts by celebrities, athletes, and other influencers, Federal Trade Commission staff recently sent out more than 90 letters reminding influencers and marketers that influencers should clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media,” declares an announcement today from the agency. Let’s please pause to consider the FTC employees who had to spend their days at the office scrolling through teatox posts or whatever.

Don’t think they’re not onto all the tricks, either:

In addition to providing background information on when and how marketers and influencers should disclose a material connection in an advertisement, the letters each addressed one point specific to Instagram posts — consumers viewing Instagram posts on mobile devices typically see only the first three lines of a longer post unless they click “more,” which many may not do. The staff’s letters informed recipients that when making endorsements on Instagram, they should disclose any material connection above the “more” button.

The letters also noted that when multiple tags, hashtags, or links are used, readers may just skip over them, especially when they appear at the end of a long post – meaning that a disclosure placed in such a string is not likely to be conspicuous.

Some of the letters addressed particular disclosures that are not sufficiently clear, pointing out that many consumers will not understand a disclosure like “#sp,” “Thanks [Brand],” or “#partner” in an Instagram post to mean that the post is sponsored.

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Wow, guys, way to poop the party.

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

Jerry-Netherland
Jerry-Netherland

Good move by the FTC, but I do worry about the lack of healthy cynicism that merits this rule. By this I mean that there still substantial numbers of the public who haven’t realized that if, say, the K-people or Lindsay Lohan are so much as casually holding a can of [x-brand water/soda/tuna fish], they’re being paid. And when a once-popular ex-sitcom star (too numerous to mention) suddenly proclaims that [x-brand face cream/diet plan/new pharmaceutical product] has changed his or her life, some people - nay, too many people! - actually think it’s not a paid endorsement?