The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is stepping up its regulation of social media being used to promote and advertise goods and services.
This morning it announced a significant update to its policies regarding the endorsement requirements, specifically targeting the use of social media for marketing. The update is the first since 2010, and many take it as a signal they will begin cracking down on social media marketers who aren't in full compliance.
Of particular interest to the FTC is the use of celebrities or other influential people to promote brands and the use of contests or anything that could be perceived as a contest.
While the FTC has always required relationships between brands and endorsers on social media to be “clearly and conspicuously” disclosed, they are now providing a much more detailed set of rules. After five years the social media landscape has changed significantly which has necessitated the new guidelines.
Even short messages, like those on Twitter, will be held to the same standard. Promoters must use the #ad or #sponsored hash tags in such cases to let people know its a paid endorsement.
You can check out the full list of the FTC's new policies here.