We’ve all seen them.
Sticking out like glittered thumbs on the social media pages of influencers are posts touting ‘Flat Tummy Tea’, a product which promises to offer its patrons a flatter and fitter gut within days.
Alas, it appears that the fun may be over for stars who push the highly recommended product and products like it to their fans in exchange for easy cash.
The Federal Trade Commission, which seeks to “eliminate and prevent anticompetitive business practices”, feels consumers are being fooled into purchasing products recommended to them by cash-hungry stars with large social media followings.
In response to the supposed bamboozlement, it penned letters to 90 influencers which “advises” them to disclose the compensation they receive in exchange for pushing products.
A portion of the letter reads:
Many consumers will not understand a disclosure like “#sp,” “Thanks [Brand],” or “#partner” in an Instagram post to mean that the post is sponsored.
Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily, and not have to look for it. For example, consumers viewing posts in their Instagram streams on mobile devices typically see only the first three lines of a longer post unless they click ‘more,’ and many consumers may not click ‘more.’ Therefore, you should disclose any material connection above the ‘more’ button.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which fears young children are put at risk by careless and cunning commercials, issued this statement in response to the FTC’s letter.
We’re glad the FTC is encouraging influencer’s on Instagram to be more forthright, but we hope they expand that
initiative to include YouTube and other social media, which reach millions of children and we hope the FTC will take strong action against any influences who refuse to comply with the rules.