11.10 2017 06:57h
11.10 2017 06:57h

What You Need to Know About New Crackdowns in Influencer Marketing

America's Federal Trade Commission is setting international standards on social media advertising

With the proliferation of influencer marketing revolutionising the way thousands of brands connect with their audiences, the need for clearly defined legislation - in what has always been something of an industry grey area -  is becoming more and more essential. 

In the USA, one body trying to regulate the widespread use of influencer-led, social media advertising is the Federal Trades Commission, who this week made another update to its 'endorsement' guidelines. 

While these new regulations do NOT yet legally apply to influencer and social media marketing in the Middle East, it serves as a potentially interesting barometer as what may soon be to come in this region.

So what do you need to know?

#Hashtag Update

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, while some social media content creators in the US and other parts of the world have previously indicated a branded or collaborative post with the hashtags #sp #spon or #partner, the FTC's new ruling means that these will no longer be a sufficient legal disclaimer. And neither will be simply attributing a 'Thanks to...' caption

In essence, the new ruling means that only the explicit markers of #ad and #sponsored will be sanctioned for influencers' endorsement posts.

Announcement of Freebies

Social media stars being sent pretty parcels may soon have to disclose the ones that have been sent to them for free- in a similar way to announcing paid-for posts. It's worth noting this only applies to the gifts they are strategically posting about from brands (by way of thanks)...not their grandma's annual birthday sweater. 

...These Rules Don't Quite Apply For Celebrities

Well, mostly.

Essentially, any long-running sponsorship deals that certain celebs enjoy, will not see the enforcement of the agreed branding hashtags, as it's already reasonably implied they are being paid for product placement. That being said, the FTC is actively encouraging uniform transparency in the labeling of paid posts, as determining of this 'implied understanding' may be tricky. 

Need more info on these rulings? You can read the official FTC updates, here 

For the lowdown on influencer laws in the UAE, check our local lawyer piece, here