US wants Instagram stars to be more transparent
US authorities, via the Federal Trade Commission, have just warned celebrities and other “influencers” using Instagram who disguise advertising. A practice deemed dishonest if it is not clearly assumed.
For several years now, Instagram users have come to realize that sponsored publications have become commonplace . The social network is full of influencers and celebrities, who use them as much to communicate on their own works or creations as to make barely hidden promotion for different brands. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is unhappy about this.
The Bureau of Consumer Protection examined its cases of hidden advertisements, sending nearly 90 letters to persons suspected of such practices , without citing names publicly. An action that follows a petition launched by the Public Citizen Association , listing more than a hundred posts concerned , including some of Rihanna, Michael Phelps and Kim Kardashian. But the problem more widely concerns the practices of brands and companies, and the lack of clarity, both on their side and that of their marketing representatives.
INFLUENCE AND HIDDEN ADVERTISING
The difficulty of the problem is the nature of trade between trademarks and influencers. Are they paid to make such a post? Is there a clear contract between the two parties? Or is it a simple sponsorship, translated as a gift? In any case, the FTC Bureau recalls, in a press release , the rules and principles around this kind of practice: if there is a physical connection – include an exchange of good practices that can weigh on the benevolence of the person “Praising” the qualities of a product – it must be explicit and well put forward to prevent the Internet user.
The state agency takes the opportunity to slip some direct advice to these influencers and brands : first we must avoid any ambiguous speech and do not hesitate to clearly show the links that both parties can have. But the FTC recalls that each must play the guard crazy; The influencers being guarantor of this transparency, and the brands making sure of it no matter what happens. More conveniently, the Bureau also targets the use of hashtags at the end of the description or long explanatory texts, which are rarely consulted by the majority of Instagram users and sometimes used to drown out information from a partnership.
Last year, the case of Warner Bros., who paid YouTubeurs for positive reviews of Shadow of Mordor (without editorial distinction with “unpaid” critics), illustrates the dishonesty of such a practice. This case was also attacked by the FTC, highlighting the lie that implied the production of a content sold “independent” while it was financed by the distributor himself. The warning comes from instagram influencers and celebrities , who are invited to consult the FTC Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking , a document that provides advice on how to comply with the rules governing advertising on the net. Before, perhaps, more decisive decisions on the matter,