Online Influencers Look Out The FTC is Coming for You
Instagram, TikTok and YouTube
Cristal M Clark
Personally, I don’t watch online influencers just not my thing, I also don’t read articles entitled “I tried…so you don’t have to.” Online influencers get paid to endorse products, services and the like.
The Federal Trade Commission has required influencers to disclose sponsored posts, but that doesn’t have much of an effect when it comes to whether or not those influencers have actually vetted those products.
Recently the FTC charged Lord and Taylor with deceiving the public for a campaign where they paid 50 social media influencers to post about a dress on Instagram, but didn’t require them to disclose that the posts were sponsored. Hence the campaign was in fact, a paid for advertisement.
The reality is that companies behind such campaigns are laundering advertising by paying an influencer to pretend that their endorsement or review is the real deal rather than a paid for ad campaign.
This fraudulent advertising scheme has drawn the ire of the FTC stating companies have pressured influencers to hide the fact that their endorsements are paid advertising.
Back in 2016, video network Machinima got into hot water with the FTC for deceptive advertising for failing to disclose that it paid YouTubers to make endorsements of the Xbox One, and telling them to position their opinions as independent reviews.
And these lawsuits have done nothing to discourage these paid endorsements or rather authentic paid for advertising campaigns because the FTC has failed to punish these companies financially. Instead they are going to take a stern look at the platforms the influencers are using where you can post pretty much anything, where friends are fake and the facts are made up.
My guess is that the FTC is going to pressure these platforms to deal with the issue rather than hit the offenders in the pocketbook as they should.
Cristal M Clark