Online Influencers Called Out in Second Letter to FTC

Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP

Reiterating their concerns about online influencers, Public Citizen and three other consumer groups sent a second letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting that the agency take action.

“Undisclosed paid product endorsements continue to persist as a serious problem on Instagram, and the [FTC] has yet to take action to enforce its policy, which states that paid endorsements should be identified with #advertisement or #ad,” the groups wrote.

Public Citizen, Commercial Alert, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood first wrote to the Commission in September and provided more than 100 examples of posts they claimed violated FTC policy, including some from well-known celebrities such as Rihanna and members of the Kardashian family.

Why it matters: The issue of which disclosures are necessary for certain posts by online influencers is not going away anytime soon. Social media advertising only continues to grow, while consumer groups have made it clear they will not drop the issue. “We again request that the FTC engage in an affirmative effort to change the culture around paid endorsements on Instagram, and that it act promptly and aggressively,” the groups wrote in their most recent letter. “Enforcement actions should be taken against serial offenders, marketing agencies and endorsers that continue to violate FTC policy.”

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