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  • Sydney Hummel

When Influencers Don’t Disclose their Sponsorships

Have you ever bought a product because an influencer reviewed it? What made you buy the product? Did you trust their opinion? 

It’s actually getting harder and harder nowadays to trust influencers’ opinions on products. I’m sure we all remember Mikayla Nogueria’s “Lash Gate” where Mikayla claimed she was only using L’Oréal’s Telescopic Mascara when she clearly was using false eyelashes in her video and she never disclosed if this video was an advertisement or not.

Other influencers such as Glamzilla, Alix Earle, and Nikkie Tutorials haven’t been transparent about the disclosure of their sponsorships either. In many of their ads, you have to click the more tab on the caption to see the hashtag.

Based on a study by the European Commission, “four in five social media influencers do not disclose paid content”. The ASA did a study with 122 UK-Based influencers on their disclosure of ads. They found that:

  • There was inconsistent disclosure across stories

  • Limited visibility of the ad labels, with small fonts or the font color being the same of the background of the story

  • No additional upfront disclosure in the video

The European Commission did a study where they analyzed 576 influencers posts on different social media platforms. They found that:

  • 97% of influencers shared posts with commercial content, but only 20% revealed that the post was an advertisement

  • 38% of influencers did not use the “Paid partnership” option on Instagram, but used terms such as “collaboration” or “partnership”.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has disclosure guidelines for social media influencers. Some of their guidelines are:

  • If you endorse a product through social media, your endorsement message should make it obvious when you have a relationship with the brand

  • Disclose when you have any financial, employment, personal, or family relationship with a brand

  • Place it so it’s hard to miss- the disclosure should be placed with the endorsement message itself.

In 2023, many nutrition influencers received letters from the FTC for improper closure of ads, but apparently, this has not been enough to stop influencers from continuing to hide ad hashtags.

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