It’s pretty easy to get confused as to whether your favorite celebrity is actually using and loving the teatox featured in their Instagram photo or if it is just a really convincing advertisement. Luckily, you aren’t the only one. According to Bloomberg, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now cracking down on celebrities who are not entirely transparent about their brand sponsorships in their social media posts.
The typical Instagram sponsored post generally says that it is sponsored but in a very subtle way. For example, the Kardashian-Jenner family, which is paid thousands of dollars for sponsored social media posts, tag their uploads with hashtags such as “#sp” or “#spon.”
However, Bloomberg reports that those hashtags may no longer be enough for the FTC. The hashtag “#ad” was deemed appropriate if it is placed at the beginning of a social media post, but the hashtags “#sp” and “#spon” are not enough, according to the FTC.
If the sponsored content is a video, the advertisement disclosure must be denoted out loud or shown on the screen.
Adweek reported that this change is now happening on Snapchat, with celebrity influencers including the hashtag “#paid,” “#ad” or “#sponsored” in their snap.
“If consumers don’t read the words, then there is no effective disclosure,” Michael Ostheimer, a deputy in the FTC Ad Practices division, said. “If you have seven other hashtags at the end of a tweet and it’s mixed up with all of these other things, it’s easy for consumers to kick over that. The real test is, did consumers read it and comprehend it?”
The government currently plans on attacking this issue by going after the advertisers – not the celebrities themselves. They are sending out guidelines and giving online webinars as well as taking legal action against the advertisers who refuse to adhere to the new rules.
In this sort of situation, it is generally the advertiser who instructs the celebrity what to do, so as much as you may hate the Kardashian-Jenner family, you can’t blame them in this one.