The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a department of the US government which specialises in ensuring consumer protection and the enforcement of US antitrust laws.
Over the years the FTC has been trying to lay down guidelines for influencers, especially in regards to disclosing involving or paid adverts. This comes in the wake of several high-profile cases where influencers promoted games or services they had a financial stake in, were paid to promote or helped create. Probably the largest and most well-known example revolved around undisclosed promotion of a CS:GO gambling website, a case which was settled without fines, but did include a clause to disclose further advertisements.
Now, the FTC has released new guidelines for disclosure, along with a video detailing what this means for influencers.
The guidelines, titled ‘Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers’ is a simplified guide over what to do, and what not to do when promoting products to ensure compliance with the law. Here’s a brief rundown:
- When endorsing a product, disclose if you have a relationship with the brand.
- Ensure that disclosure is seen by viewers or followers, and that it’s in understandable language.
- The disclosure must be alongside the endorsement, not buried elsewhere.
- If the disclosure comes in a live stream, it must be repeated often enough so people who drop in and out get the message.
- You cannot endorse something you haven’t tried.
- You cannot lie about a product (if you hated it, you hated it).
- Do not make up claims about a product that require proof the brand does not have.
These guidelines have only just been released, so we have yet to see any potential impact they might have on influencers. For more information, head to the FTC website for full details.