More than 90 letters have been sent to celebrities, athletes, and other influencers to gently remind them to clearly state their relationships to brands when posting an #ad or #endorsement on Instagram, the Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday. As noted in a press release, this is the first time the FTC has reached out directly to these influencers, which means Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and other Kardashian-Jenner family members probably received letters.
The FTC sent the letters after reviewing petitions filed by the nonprofit Public Citizen and other affiliated organizations who were concerned about influencer advertising on Instagram. In addition to being clear in communicating their relationship to a diet pill or rental company, social media influencers should "disclose any material connection above the 'more' button," the FTC points out, since fans and followers usually only see the first three lines of a lengthy caption when using the app on mobile. For the same reasons, the FTC suggests that hashtags or links to stay near the top instead of the end of a long post.
A sample of the FTC letter can be found here. Part of it reads, "To make a disclosure both 'clear' and 'conspicuous,' you should use unambiguous language and make the disclosure stand out. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily, and not have to look for it." Some recipients of the letter are also being encouraged to go beyond using something like "#sp" (sponsored partner), "Thanks, [Brand]" or "#partner."
The sponsored Instagram industry is a serious side hustle for dozens of celebs. According to a Jezebel report in 2016, Scott Disick can make anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000 per sponsored post on Instagram. I guess there's no better time than now to revive one of the greatest moments in (sponsored) Instagram history:
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