Celebrity Influencers Continue to Flout FTC Disclosure Rules
Last fall, national advocacy group Public Citizen sent a report to the Federal Trade Commission alleging that more than 100 “influencers” – actors, musicians, athletes and other high-profile individuals – and marketers had failed to disclose compensation for product endorsements on Instagram in violation of the FTC Act.
The FTC responded in April 2017 by sending compliance reminder letters to more than 90 influencers and advertisers, including luminaries such as Allen Iverson, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Lopez.
Despite this scrutiny, according to Public Citizen, almost none of the influencers heeded the FTC’s warning with any consistency. Public Citizen again wrote to the FTC on June 26, 2017, noting that despite the FTC’s “attempt to educate paid influencers and brands about the importance of using disclosures, influencers on Instagram continue to mislead consumers by posting paid endorsements without a proper disclosure.” In the letter, Public Citizen raised its concerns regarding noncompliance, noting that “it is fair to conclude that the FTC’s reminder letters have not been effective, and influencers and advertisers are disregarding both the FTC’s letter and guidelines.”