It often feels like the very rich, famous, and glamorous can do whatever they want. Like, go to Coachella for just an afternoon before hopping on a plane somewhere else, or fly away to some private island with Gwyneth Paltrow to get their vaginas steamed. Money might not buy happiness per se, but it does buy a certain kind of freedom — just not from Uncle Sam. The Federal Trade Commission sent a a lot of celebrities a strong warning about sponsored Instagram posts this week, and they’re going to have to start playing by some rules.
We all know that a lot of our favorite celebs on social media are often posting advertisements. According to the FTC, they aren’t making it obvious enough. And the crackdown is mainly because of private citizens — like yourself, maybe — who have reported celebs for burying the fact that they’re getting paid for the post. The FTC sent out 90 letters to celebrities, telling them that they have to be SUPER clear about what’s paid and what’s not.
A lot of times, they’ll use hashtags like, “#Thanks [Brand],” or “#sp” (sponsored post), but the but FTC doesn’t think that’s clear enough. The agency also thinks that when they use multiple hashtags, some followers might just skim through them, missing the the fact that the post is about a brand, and not just a regular selfie.
Like, check this recent post by Emily Ratakowski. It looks like a regular Coachella booty post, but see how she wrote “sponsored?”
Since there are only a few hashtags, she might get away with one like that (though her followers might be too distracted by her butt to care). The FTC says that celebs have to make it super, super obvious that it’s sponsored and hashtags might not be enough. If people are scrolling through images, you might start seeing more celebs put “sponsored” right in their post or video instead of in the caption. Just so its totally clear.
The FTC also sent the letters to marketers, too, since it’s a “two way street,” they wrote in their letter. When celebs hide the fact that their post is sponsored, it could be at the behest of the brand, which doesn’t want to look like its shilling something. Hence all the, “#ThanksBrand” hashtags.
Celebrities make a ton of dough from these sponsored posts. But it sounds like they better start following the rules if they want to get paid.