It’s Every Influencer for Themselves as FTC Settles Debut Case Against Individual Social Stars
Calling all #influencers: that promotional post may attract more attention than you bargained for with your brand if you fail to use required disclosures. With several enforcement actions against companies, assistance from Instagram’s new paid partnerships tool, and the first ever complaint directly against social media influencers, the Federal Trade Commission has made it clear that they are fed up with deceptive endorsements.
Many brands today consider social media “influencers” an essential marketing tool. But the use of influencers raises important legal considerations. Under FTC guidance, if the person endorsing a product or service on social media has been compensated for that endorsement, the post must disclose the connection between the endorser and the brand. The key under the FTC’s endorsement guides is whether consumers would understand that a particular post is a paid endorsement. If consumers would be surprised to learn that a brand paid (or otherwise compensated) the endorser for his or her post, then the post should include a clear and conspicuous disclosure such as “#sponsored” or “#ad.” The FTC has been aggressive in its enforcement of these mandatory disclosures, but until recently, most enforcement has targeted advertisers rather than influencers.
*This alert was originally posted on Arent Fox's Behind the Scenes blog. To read this alert in its entirety, please click here.