Today the FTC announced that it issued over 90 letters to influencers and marketers regarding proper relationship disclosure in Instagram posts. Although it did not release names, it did provide to the public a sample letter that gives some insight into the FTC’s views.
The letters focused on truth-in-advertising laws including the .Com Disclosures issued by the FTC. They stressed that “material connections” must be disclosed clearly and conspicuously. In the case of Instagram, this means that the disclosure must be made before consumers have to click “more” to read the entire post description. Additionally, the language used by the influencers was not always clear to consumers including “#sp,” “Thanks [Brand],” or “#partner.”
These letters give brands and influencers (including affiliate marketers) more guidance as to what the FTC expects regarding disclosure on social media. Although no formal action was taken against the brands or the influencers, the letters serve as a warning to anyone engaging in these types of social media posts.
For a limited time we are making our disclosure whitepaper, “Blogging and New Media Disclosure Information” available to download for free. It covers many of the things these new FTC letters touched on including when and where disclosure is required. The new guidance from the FTC about Instagram is directly in line with everything they have said so far about making it clear to consumers anytime there is a material relationship between the influencer and the brand.