FTC warns celebrities over Instagram ads

Letters were sent to individuals and marketing firms

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned celebrities and “influencers” in the US to clearly state when they are promoting products on Instagram in return of payment.

The consumer regulator sent letters to 90 different individuals and marketing firms.

It is the first time the regulator has had to intervene on the issue.

The FTC looked at a sample of different posts that either referenced a brand or directly endorsed a product.

Its rules state that anyone endorsing a brand must “clearly and conspicuously” declare any connections to it.

These rules also apply to marketing agencies who are involved in the deals as well as those endorsing the brand.

This move was partly prompted by the advocacy group Public Citizen which carried out its very own investigation last year.

The group said: “Instagram has become a Wild West of disguised advertising, targeting young people and especially young women.”

“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.”

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