Percent of Celebs' Sponsored Instagrams Are Reeeally Not Kosher

Instagram has unveiled a number of new features that will allow influencers to clearly disclose when they have been paid to post content and share campaign metrics directly with brands, in a move to "increase transparency across the board". Now, sponsored posts will be clearly labelled in a bid to out paid product placement on the platform. Brands spent more than $225 million on influencer marketing every month previous year on Instagram alone, according to social media analytics firm Captiv8.

But, the feature goes beyond just labeling sponsored and non-sponsored content.

According to the FTC's guidelines, all sponsored posts on Instagram must include clear and conspicuous disclosure like #ad or #sponsored near the top of captions, so people viewing the post on a smartphone will see that it's an ad without having to press the "more" button. They could be "sponsored by" or with a hashtag of #ad. The sub-header is found where the geo-location tag usually is.

Currently, the new feature will only be available for select brands and celebrities, according to Buzzfeed.

Personalities often don't identify their sponsored content as ads because they fear it will affect their online persona and influence.

The FTC, the chief enforcer of USA truth-in-advertising rules, has sent letters to more than 35 stars and more than 40 companies telling them they must disclose compensation for promoting products on social media.

Without mentioning the FTC's efforts directly, Instagram writes that while partnerships between "community creators" and businesses are an important part of the social media experience, "a healthy community should be open and consistent about paid partnerships". However, some advocacy groups say that this isn't enough to curb the actual non-disclosure problem. The tag will appear in both organic content posts and Instagram Stories. This change could mark the decline of the Instagram influencer market, weeding out those clinging desperately onto the bandwagon.

  • Carolyn Briggs