Instagram crackdown on influencers who break the rules
A hot potato: Instagram found itself in hot water after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) discovered that many business deals between companies and influencers are not fully disclosed. Consumer regulations require that trade publications be clearly labeled. A CMA probe revealed that this does not happen often.
Instagram’s rules in the UK and elsewhere state that trade agreements between users and businesses must be fully disclosed using the hashtags #ad or #sponsored. These rules clearly indicate that a published message is remunerated in the form of a payment or a free and “offered” product. Typically, these types of arrangements are made between companies and top Instagram “influencers”.
However, an investigation by the British CMA found Most of the time, social media influencers don’t clarify these business deals. The AMC also concluded that Facebook owned Instagram is not doing enough to address this issue. In order to avoid legal action for non-compliance with consumer law, Instagram is making some changes.
“Instagram is required to involve businesses in the changes by creating a tool to help them monitor the promotion of their products.”
First, Instagram will invite users to reveal whether they have been paid or incentivized to promote a product or service. If they have been, the social network will require users to disclose it.
Second, Instagram is making its “paid partnership” tool available to all users, making it easier for anyone to display a tag at the top of their post revealing a business deal.
Finally, Instagram has vowed to use technology and algorithms to detect instances where a business disclosure has not been made and will report those users to their associated businesses in a bid to tackle influencer rule breakers.
“Under the commitments, Instagram is also required to involve businesses in the changes by creating a tool to help them monitor the promotion of their products,” the CMA said. “Accordingly, businesses should do their part to comply with consumer protection law and take action where appropriate, including directing the platform to remove messages if necessary.”
The AMC also asked Instagram to report back to the agency on its progress and provide updates on how it is meeting each of its three commitments.