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FTC Warns Instagram Users to Disclose Sponsorships

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warnings to 90 Instagram users for failure to disclose sponsorships of products, according to ABC news.

In today’s technology-driven world, advertisements and sponsorships can be less obvious than the newspaper ads of the past. According to the FTC, celebrities and endorsers in general must now make the clear distinction that a certain post is an ad, by adding a hashtag and the word “ad” to signify a paid post.

“They’re concerned that the public does not know that when the celebrities appear with these products, that they’re actually endorsing them, that they’re getting paid for them,” Larry Hackett, managing partner of 10ten Media, told ABC news in an interview.

Some of the Instagramers who received a warning from the FTC used “#sp” to indicate a sponsored post, which the FTC decided was not a clear enough distinction.

“The hashtag, “sp” stands for sponsored post, which the FTC says is not good enough,” said Hackett. “They’re looking for ‘#ad,’ a clear indication that it’s an add and she’s getting paid for it.”

An example is the below Instagram posted by Kim Kardashian West, the actress has since changed the “#sp” to include the FTC-approved phrasing of “#ad.”

Detoxing with @fittea 💜 it tastes amazing and the ingredients are all natural 🍵 #ad

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

The FTC has not issue any fines, but simply warns certain Instagram influencers of the need to clarify moving forward.