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Influencer drama 2023 – WARNED by the FTC

These influencers are in TROUBLE…caught by the FTC


The public warning letters


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revised it’s guidelines for endorsements and testimonials earlier this year. It also released a guidance document that addressed concerns regarding the guidelines and a proposed new rule that would regulate the use of customer reviews and testimonials. In doing so, the FTC all but assured businesses that it would be closely examining influencer marketing.

The FTC delivered on its pledge last week, alerting two trade associations and twelve health influencers via warning letters about the inadequate disclosures in their social media posts.

Beauty influencers


TikTok stars have been seen posting content promoting products without addressing their promotion. As for the beauty guru community, multiple bloggers are constantly seen “reviewing” or “recommending” their “favorite” products without addressing that they’ve been paid to do so. Which goes against the law.

The letters begin by reminding influencers that they must “clearly and conspicuously” disclose any “material connection” they have to a brand, unless the context makes that connection obvious. They then go on to outline the FTC’s definition of a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure. After providing this context, FTC employees went on to voice particular concerns over the posts.

The Federal Trade Commission is concerned that consumers may find it difficult to distinguish between genuine and phony endorsements in this day and age of wisdom and folly, real bloggers and sponsored followers. However, both influencers and companies are adamant that the goal of influencer-brand collaborations is to genuinely match the industry with the product—rather than just pretending to do so in order to make money.

Back to the letters

The letters invite the recipients to reply within 15 business days and “strongly urge” the associations and influencers to check that their posts adhere to FTC regulations. Together with a warning that the recipients, including the influencers, are “on notice that engaging in conduct described therein could subject you to civil penalties of up to $50,120 per violation,” the letters also included the FTC’s Notice of Penalty Offenses Concerning Deceptive or Unfair Conduct Around Endorsements and Testimonials.

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