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Instagram influencers riding roughshod over sponsored posts rules


By John Glenday, Reporter

April 20, 2017 | 2 min read

The US Federal Trade Commission has rounded on a coterie of over 90 Instagram ‘influencers and marketers’ for failing to properly disclose when their social media posts have been paid for by advertisers.

None of the individuals were mentioned by name by the bureau which was jolted into action by a series of petitions filed by non-profit advocacy body Public Citizen which has been busily logging alleged transgressions from celebrities including Bella Hadid, Rihanna, and Michael Phelps.

In a bid to clamp down on the practice the FTC will contact those concerned directly to remind them of their disclosure responsibilities and is also urging Instagram users to get involved by reporting suspicious content.

Strict FTC rules mandate that social media users must make plain any financial or other relationships with advertisers, usually by prefacing posts with a #ad or #sponsored hashtag.

Those who flout the rules can find themselves subject to enforcement action, as Warner Bros found to its cost when the studio settled charges that it had paid YouTube stars such as PewDiePie to promote a Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor game.

The FTC has come under pressure in recent months to clamp down on influencer marketing to children.

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