#ad - is what every influencer thinks is needed to comply with FTC disclosure rules by not anymore. The Federal Trade Commission has released its "Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers" and we break down how influencers should disclosure paid ads or sponsorships.
First things first, if you are getting paid to mention a product, place a product, or speak about a product on social media, the Federal Trade Commission requires that it be disclosed. Meaning you can't get paid to promote a product without telling people you are getting paid. In the past, big companies have been fined over not having their influencers disclose such sponsored ads.
When to Disclose
Influencers must disclose when they have any financial, employment, personal, or family relationship with a brand. If given free or discounted products, an Influencer is required to disclose this information even if they were not asked to mention that product. The FTC reminds Influencers that even wearing tags or pins that show favorability towards a company can be considered endorsements of said company. However, if you simply enjoy a product and want to talk about the product, you are not required to declare that you don’t have a relationship with that brand. Lastly, even if these posts are made from abroad, U.S. law will still apply if it is reasonably foreseeable that the post will affect U.S. consumers.
How to Disclose
When disclosing a brand relationship, the disclosure should be placed within the endorsement itself. However, this does not mean you can mix the disclosure in with a group of hashtags or links; it must stand out. For photos, the FTC requires Influencers superimpose the disclosure over the photo and, in the case of Snapchat, give their viewers enough time to read it. For videos, the disclosure must be in both the video and the description. The FTC recommends putting the disclosure in both audio and video forms, as some viewers may watch without sound and others may not notice superimposed words. Lastly, for live streams, disclosures should be repeated on a periodic basis so new viewers will hear and understand that the streamer is endorsing a product/service.
The FTC also stresses using simple and clear language. Examples of this are thanking brands for free products, or using terms such as “ad.” Terms such as “Partner” and “Ambassador” are also extremely useful for communicating a partnership. Hashtags are fine, and encouraged, but not necessary. Of course, the disclosure must be in the same language as the endorsement.
Miscellaneous Things to Know
Influencers must try a product before endorsing it. If the Influencer tried the product and thought negatively about it, they are prohibited from speaking positively about it. The Influencer can not make up claims about a product without proof from the advertiser.
That's everything you need to know. Now I'm going to talk to my favorite lawyers at Lee Law who help me with all my needs. #ad
Thanks to intern, Dan Percy, for his help with this article. #notanad