Instagram is expected to begin testing a new tool that makes it easier for influencers to mark paid posts on their feeds.
The company said Wednesday it will soon work with a select group of influencers and publishers to test a tool that clearly marks posts with the disclaimer “Paid partnership with” and then the name of the brand partner below where a user’s handle sits. Blogger Aimee Song and BuzzFeed are among some in the initial group to begin using the tag. The tool will roll out for a test in the coming weeks before it’s launched globally in the coming months, according to an Instagram spokeswoman.
Instagram also said there are plans to roll out an official policy on the matter that includes how those rules will be enforced.
The new feature fits within a broader conversation and push for transparency. It also ensures influencers and marketers are following the law as the Federal Trade Commission cracks down on endorsements in the sometimes nebulous world of social media, where it’s not always obvious what’s a paid post and what’s not.
The FTC made it clear in April, when it sent out more than 90 letters to a mix of influencers and marketers reminding them of the law as it relates to endorsements and other disclosures. Among the recipients of those letters were Victoria Beckham, Heidi Klum, Lindsay Lohan, Kourtney Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Chanel, Adidas and Chiara Ferragni Collection, WWD reported in May. The FTC stated it was not enough for an influencer to say “thank you” to a brand or type “#partner” in a post.
“We’ve been spending some time on Instagram lately. Why? Because advertisers, endorsers and consumers are spending time there, too. What we saw raised concerns about whether some influencers are aware of truth-in-advertising standards about endorsements and disclosures,” the FTC’s senior attorney Lesley Fair wrote in her April post on the more than 90 letters to influencers and brands.
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