A host of celebrity Instagram members have received inquisitive letters issued by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the consumer rights agency steps up efforts to establish whether the likes of supermodel Naomi Campbell are being paid to promote and endorse products on the Instagram photo-sharing network.
It is understood that 21 individuals have been targeted in the crackdown; including actresses Lindsay Lohan and Vanessa Hudgens, amidst a rise in the number of famous individuals using the Facebook-owned service to promote products and services without disclosing whether they had been paid to do so.
Each official missive carries a 30 September deadline for the addressee to confirm or deny that they had a ‘material connection’ to marketers behind items which they have promoted on the service.
Campbell for instance came to the US government’s attention after posting a prominent picture of three Globe-Trotter suitcases to her followers but which carried no disclosure details. If any marketing arrangement had been agreed behind the scenes Campbell must inform the FTC how disclosure will be taken going forward.
Instagram has sought to make it easy for members to label content with ‘paid partnership with’ tags and those who repeatedly fail to do so could be landed with government fines if they fail to comply.