Feds Warn Social Media ‘Influencers’ To Stop It Already With The Stealth Ads
Like it or not, the fact is that we’ve crossed through the mirror into a world where people are paid lots of money to mention a product, wear an article of clothing, or sip some ab-tightening tea… not because they are famous but because they get paid lots of money to mention products they got for free, wear comped clothing, and drink dubious tea — a well-dressed, flat-tummied, ouroboros shown off in impeccably framed and filtered Instagram shots. You might find it repellant, but it’s legal, so long as all of that cash and compensation is adequately disclosed — a message that a number of “influencers” and their handlers have either ignored or not received.
So today, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had sent out 90 letters to influencers and their corporate benefactors, telling them to please — for the sake of what goodness remains in this world — follow the flippin’ rules when it comes to paid endorsements.
Since these letters are not official actions, the FTC does not identify the individuals and companies involved. However, a template letter [PDF] provided by the agency does show that the notices address specific instances of possible guideline violations.