FTC Mandates Social Media Influencers Disclose Sponsored Content

Original story can be found here

On Thursday September 7th, 2017, the FTC passed new guidelines stating that all social media influencers must clearly and unambiguously state what companies sponsor them and their content. The article “Scandal prompts FTC to crack down on social media influencers” states that even though the precedents were set after a lawsuit against two influential YouTubers promoting an online gambling/gaming site, they now apply to all social media influencers and promotional content moving forward.

With the introduction of these new guidelines, social media influencers must be increasingly diligent in disclosing their sponsors to avoid charges from the FTC. Not only do these rules change the way creators have to make and post their content, it forces the companies/businesses who endorse them to be clearly affiliated with them. Though it may seem tedious to monitor all influential content creators and their sponsors, the FTC is ultimately discouraging deception and protecting consumers from potentially harmful or misleading information. While it may not seem important for the makeup YouTube vlogger to disclose which brand of eyeshadow she is sponsored by, binding all social media users to the same rules makes it much easier to monitor more high-risk products and services- such as drugs, alcohol or gambling.

With the number of influential social media stars and businesses looking to promote their products, it has become increasingly necessary to regulate their actions to protect consumers and social media users alike. Having a system in place that discourages deceit keeps the social media landscape a more honest and safe environment for everyone using it — and protects the reputation of both content creators and sponsors in the process.

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