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Explaining the FTC’s New Social Media Influencer Sponsorship Disclosure Rules

9 November 2019

From Pirated Thoughts, the alternative legal blog:

The Federal Trade Commission has released its “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers” and we break down how influencers should disclosure paid ads or sponsorships.

First things first, if you are getting paid to mention a product, place a product, or speak about a product on social media, the Federal Trade Commission requires that it be disclosed. Meaning you can’t get paid to promote a product without telling people you are getting paid. In the past, big companies have been fined over not having their influencers disclose such sponsored ads.

. . . .

Influencers must disclose when they have any financial, employment, personal, or family relationship with a brand.  If given free or discounted products, an Influencer is required to disclose this information even if they were not asked to mention that product.  The FTC reminds Influencers that even wearing tags or pins that show favorability towards a company can be considered endorsements of said company.  However, if you simply enjoy a product and want to talk about the product, you are not required to declare that you don’t have a relationship with that brand.  Lastly, even if these posts are made from abroad, U.S. law will still apply if it is reasonably foreseeable that the post will affect U.S. consumers.

. . . .

When disclosing a brand relationship, the disclosure should be placed within the endorsement itself.  However, this does not mean you can mix the disclosure in with a group of hashtags or links; it must stand out. For photos, the FTC requires Influencers superimpose the disclosure over the photo and, in the case of Snapchat, give their viewers enough time to read it.  For videos, the disclosure must be in both the video and the description.

. . . .

The FTC also stresses using simple and clear language.  Examples of this are thanking brands for free products, or using terms such as “ad.”  Terms such as “Partner” and “Ambassador” are also extremely useful for communicating a partnership.  Hashtags are fine, and encouraged, but not necessary.  Of course, the disclosure must be in the same language as the endorsement.

Link to the rest at Pirated Thoughts, the alternative legal blog

PG’s Simple and Clear Language: He doesn’t get paid for anything he posts on TPV other than the occasional link to a book for sale on Amazon that includes an affiliate link.

He appreciates it when visitors click on an Amazon affiliate link and thereafter buy something on Amazon, but Amazon’s affiliate fees are (fortunately) a very small part of the income that courses into Casa PG. If Amazon ended its affiliate program tomorrow, even a highly-observant individual would not be able to perceive any change in Casa PG or in the least-organized realms thereof where PG pursues the Dark Arts of law and blogging. Stacks of paper would continue to mysteriously materialize and procreate on PG’s desk without abatement.

And, lest anyone fail to understand, hashtags that should satisfy the idiocracy at the FTC:

#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad

#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad

#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad

#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad

  • #ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad
  1. #ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad#ad

#publicité#publicité#publicité#publicité#publicité#publicité#publicité#publicité

#Werbung#Werbung#Werbung#Werbung#Werbung#Werbung#Werbung#Werbung

#ការផ្សព្វផ្សាយ#ការផ្សព្វផ្សាយ#ការផ្សព្វផ្សាយ#ការផ្សព្វផ្សាយ#ការផ្សព្វផ្សាយ#ការផ្សព្វផ្សាយ

#жарнама#жарнама#жарнама#жарнама#жарнама#жарнама#жарнама#жарнама

#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告#廣告

اشتہار#اشتہار#اشتہار#اشتہار#اشتہار#اشتہار#اشتہار#اشتہار#اشتہار#

#hysbyseb#hysbyseb#hysbyseb#hysbyseb#hysbyseb#hysbyseb#hysbyseb#hysbyseb

אַדווערטייזמאַנט#אַדווערטייזמאַנט#אַדווערטייזמאַנט#אַדווערטייזמאַנט#אַדווערטייזמאַנט#אַדווערטייזמאַנט#

#hoʻolaha#hoʻolaha#hoʻolaha#hoʻolaha#hoʻolaha#hoʻolaha#hoʻolaha#hoʻolaha

#Quảng cáo#Quảng cáo#Quảng cáo#Quảng cáo#Quảng cáo#Quảng cáo#Quảng cáo

#ప్రకటన#ప్రకటన#ప్రకటన#ప్రకటన#ప్రకటన#ప్రకటన#ప్రకటన#ప్రకటన#ప్రకటన

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4 Comments to “Explaining the FTC’s New Social Media Influencer Sponsorship Disclosure Rules”

  1. ‘Idiocracy’ eh. Heaven forbid those innocent corporations should be forced to reveal when they pay for advertisements…

    • Are movies required to air a disclaimer when they have product placement? This is no different.

      • Legally, the difference is that a movie is a “work of art” and social media… is not. As a First Amendment matter, “disclaimers” don’t play nice with “works of art” (consider, for example, if Andy Warhol had had a sponsorship arrangement with Campbell’s Soup).

        Whether this is the way it should be in an ideal universe is not the issue. Because social media is itself advertising and not art as the law stands, it’s the way it is. I’m sure that there is some social media influencer account somewhere that qualifies as “art,” just as I’m sure (to a legal certainty!) that there are “movies” that qualify as “advertising” (hello, Lego Movie…). That just points out that “should be” and “is” bow to the impulse to propose “bright-line tests” that aren’t sensitive to context.

    • ‘Idiocracy’ eh. Heaven forbid those innocent corporations should be forced to reveal when they pay for advertisements…

      How about the guilty corporations owned by millions of Americans through their IRAs, Keoghs, and pension funds?

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