The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had it when it comes to celebrities and their Instagram "ads" — so they're taking action. The government agency sent 21 warning letters to various celebrities and influencers who don't properly disclose their posts. Among those, are Teen Mom stars Chelsea Houska and Farrah Abraham.
According to the FTC’s guidelines, a person is supposed to disclose an ad if he or she has a "material connection" to a brand or product. In other words, this means that they're literally supposed to write "#ad" if they were paid to post about a product or if they were given something for free. For those like Kendall Jenner, who are the face of La Perla, for example, simply tagging the company is not enough to be considered proper disclosure.
In May, Chelsea posted a sweet snap of her (seriously adorable) son, Watson, wearing a Carhartt sweatshirt and captioned the Instagram post, "Little Carhartt babe." She also tagged the brand. However, according to the regulations, this isn't sufficient.
Buzzfeed — who obtained a letter the FTC sent to Ciara for a May 8 sneaker post — disclosed its content. "You posted a picture of three pairs of baby shoes and you wrote, 'Thank You @JonBuscemi,'" the statement read. " In the picture, you tagged the shoes 'buscemi' and 'jonbuscemi.' As my earlier letter explained, a simple 'thank you' is probably inadequate to inform consumers of a material connection because it does not sufficiently explain the nature of your relationship; consumers could understand 'thank you' simply to mean that you are a satisfied customer. In addition, the FTC staff believes that simply tagging a brand is an endorsement of the brand. Your post does not disclose whether you have a material connection with the marketer of Buscemi shoes."
Other celebrities on the list include: Amber Rose, Scott Disick, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Jenni "JWoww" Farley, Lucy Hale, and Vanessa Hudgens. It is unknown when they have to respond to the letters by.
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Watch the video below to hear Watson's first word!