FTC Warns Celebrities Over Product Endorsements on Instagram

By Staff  |  05/10/2017

Kim Kardashian

The FTC is cracking down on "influencers" and celebrities who tout products on social media without disclosing they were paid.

If you're lost, the Federal Trade Commission has strict guidelines on how to handle paid/sponsored posts, and individuals are required to clearly disclose the nature of their relationship with a brand.

Apparently, many are not following the rules, so the FTC has sent letters warning personalities that they may be in violation. Celebrities sent letters include: Diddy, Allen Iverson, Lindsay Lohan, Kourtney Kardashian, Scott Disick, Jennifer Lopez and many others.

Brands were also served, including Adidas, Chanel, Johnson & Johnson, Yves Saint Laurent and PUMA.

According to WWD, 45 warnings were sent in total and a number of posts in violation have been taken down since, as ordered by the brands.

"The FTC’s Endorsement Guides state that if there is a 'material connection' between the endorser and the marketer of a product — in other words, a connection that might affect the weight or credibility that consumers give the endorsement — that connection should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed, unless the connection is already clear from the context of the communication containing the endorsement. Material connections could consist of a business or family relationship, monetary payment, or the provision of free products to the endorser," the letters read.

The FTC also says personalities must disclose if they receive product for free, while adding that simple hashtags such as #sp (sponsored), #partner and #ad are not enough.