A number of stars and social-media influencers have been warned about advertising products or brands on Instagram, without making it clear to their followers that they have been paid to do so. The Federal Trade Commission in the United States sent letters to more than 90 individuals telling them not to “deceive consumers”, the BBC has reported.
“Instagram has become a Wild West of disguised advertising, targeting young people, especially young women,” the group said. “It is often unclear whether an Instagram user is paid to post a product endorsement or if they genuinely use it. That’s exactly why brands are using influencer marketing as a primary way to reach young consumers. But without clear disclosure, brands are deceiving consumers and reaping the monetary benefits.”
Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Rihanna were named in the petition that prompted this investigation, but we do not know if they were sent an official warning.
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In the letter, individuals were told to make it much obvious to their followers that the content was paid for. This includes ensuring the statement features within the first three lines of their caption and not drowning said statement in a sea of other hashtags.
While this only relates to those in the United States, consumer regulators worldwide are likely to start clamping down on this behaviour as it becomes more and more evident that influencers are attempting to deceive their followers.
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From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK