Is your Instagram feed starting to feel like a TV ad break? When following your favourite social influencers becomes less about insight into their lives and more about the products they supposedly 'can't live without', something has to give. And in the United States, it has. The US Government's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants social influencers to be more transparent about what they being paid to promote.
According to the FTC, simply using hashtags like #ad, #sp or #sponsored are not enough and they'll be placing responsibility for clearer labelling on advertisers. Business of Fashion reported on the issue, speaking to Michael Ostheimer, a deputy in the FTC's Ad Practices Division, who said that not all hashtags are even noticed by people. "If consumers don't read the words, then there is no effective disclosure," Ostheimer said. "If you have seven other hashtags at the end of a tweet and it's mixed up with all these other things, it's easy for consumers to skip over that. The real test is, did consumers read it and comprehend it?"
The FTC are even more strict when it comes to vloggers and Snapchatters who rely on video content. It rules that influencers say it out loud or display the fact that it's sponsored on screen/within the video. With the FTC launching several lawsuits at companies who have paid influencers to promote a product, it seems they mean serious business. It make sense though - especially when the lines between advertisements and genuine testimonials have become increasingly blurred, thanks to the rapid rise of social media stars keen to cash in on their followings. We wonder when Australian law will follow suit? Watch this space.