Technology

Ad Watchdog Asks FTC to Take Action Against Influencers

TechnologyMar 08, 2019

Ad Watchdog Asks FTC to Take Action Against Influencers

Truth in Advertising sent a complaint after investigating the same 21 influencers the Federal Trade Commission had already warned about “deceptive” posts.

Madison, Conn.—Ad watchdog Truth in Advertising has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against a group of social media influencers it says have posted deceptive ads despite previous warnings.

Nearly two years ago, the FTC sent letters to more than 90 influencers and brands, reminding them about disclosure and promotions on social media.

The agency followed up with a second batch of letters in September 2017 to 21 of those influencers—a mix of actresses, singers, reality TV stars and individuals who made their names strictly as influencers—reminding them of their legal obligations and requesting information about their connections to certain companies.

Truth in Advertising (TINA) is now saying there has been no public action from the FTC on this front, leading it to launch its own investigation into the influencers’ Instagram accounts.

The list of influencers, who have a combined following of more than 220 million, includes actresses Vanessa Hudgens, Shay Mitchell and Sofia Vergara, singer Ciara, and socialite and TV personality Scott Disick, who was on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” for years because of his on-again, off-again relationship with Kourtney Kardashian.

According to TINA.org, 20 of the 21 influencers “continue to violate federal endorsement guidelines” by not clearly and conspicuously disclosing their material connections—ranging from receiving free products to actual endorsement deals—to the brands in their Instagram posts. (The only one not included was Lindsay Lohan, though TINA.org noted that could be because the “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club” star wiped her Instagram account clean in October 2018.)

It compiled more than 1,400 “deceptive” social media posts promoting more than 500 brands published between May 2017 and December 2018. The violations in the posts, TINA said, range from “a complete lack of disclosure to burying #ad in the middle of a caption, making it easy to miss.”

Fashion and lifestyle blogger Rach Parcell topped TINA’s list, with 265 allegedly deceptive posts during the time period, followed by Hudgens (175) and Mitchell (140).

Based on its findings, the organization filed a complaint with the FTC on Monday, asking it to take “strict enforcement action against these repeat offenders.”

A TINA spokesperson told National Jeweler it would like the FTC to expand its investigation into the marketing tactics used by these social media influencers and “put an end to this ongoing and pervasive consumer deception,” and that it is “confident” the FTC will take action against these 21 individuals.

The complaint and list of all 21 influencers can be found on TruthInAdvertising.org.

“It’s clear that these social media influencers do not take the FTC’s regulatory guidance seriously and continue to deceptively market goods and services to their fans,” TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten said. “It is time that the FTC takes strict enforcement action against these repeat offenders.”

Earlier this week, FTC Chairman Joe Simons made a statement at the National Association of Attorneys General winter meeting indicating its commitment to enforcing truth in advertising laws about social media influencer marketing.

He said: “Truthful advertising will always be one of the FTC’s core missions, because it lets consumers make informed decisions. As online marketplaces and infomercials continue to flourish, we will continue to prioritize enforcement involving the inappropriate use of influencers, native advertising and consumer reviews.”

When asked by National Jeweler about the FTC Endorsement Guides members of the jewelry trade should keep in mind, Jewelers Vigilance Committee Senior Counsel Sara Yood said if a relationship exists between a brand/company and an endorser and marketer of its product, that relationship must be disclosed, especially if the relationship isn’t obvious. And it must be disclosed in such a way that is conspicuous to the consumer.

As TINA noted, these material connections can include a business or family relationship, monetary payment or the gifting of free product.

Yood also emphasized that the Endorsement Guides apply to both the brands and companies involved as well as the social media influencers and celebrities.

On Instagram, she said, disclosure should be done in the first few lines of the caption so users don’t have to click to expand the caption to see if it is sponsored.

The FTC also says that when multiple tags, hashtags or links are used, readers might skip over them, especially when they are located at the end of a long post, meaning that a disclosure placed in such a location is not likely to be conspicuous.

Truth in Advertising has an article outlining social media disclosure guidelines on its website.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

WatchesMay 23, 2022
Steven Kaiser, Watch Industry Veteran and Beloved Mentor, Dies at 68

Kaiser, whose illustrious career spanned decades, died suddenly on Friday.

IndependentsMay 23, 2022
Long’s Jewelers to Open New Location

The family-owned jeweler is relocating its Braintree, Massachusetts, store to a new space.

IndependentsMay 23, 2022
Luxury Goods Veteran Olivier Stip Joins Chicago Jeweler CD Peacock

He will step into the retailer’s newly created role of chief development officer.

Brought to you by
Dive into GIA’s Pearl Expertise

When it comes to knowing the identity and quality of your pearls, count on GIA as your independent pearl experts.

GradingMay 23, 2022
Gem-A Launches Digital Entry-Level Gemology Course

GemIntro is meant to give a broad introduction to gems and gemology.

Weekly QuizMay 19, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
Recorded WebinarsMay 20, 2022
Watch: Responsible Sourcing and the Gold Supply Chain

Three industry experts discuss “recycled” gold vs. mined, their challenges and benefits, and how jewelers can navigate the area.

FinancialsMay 20, 2022
Richemont’s 2022 Jewelry Sales in the Americas Nearly Double

Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellati put on stellar performances.

Brought to you by
A.I. Grading is Changing Conversations at the Retail Counter

Advanced technology levels the playing field, helping jewelers give customers what they want.

AuctionsMay 20, 2022
Piece of the Week: ‘Birds in Flight’ by Oscar Heyman

The New York jeweler made this incredible, colorful Art Deco bracelet featuring tropical birds in 1927.

SurveysMay 19, 2022
5 Predictions for Jewelry Retail in the Second Half of 2022

From a slowdown in sales growth to rising costs, Fruchtman Marketing outlines its expectations for the second half of the year.

MajorsMay 19, 2022
As It Nears 75, Here’s How Grandview Klein Stays Competitive

Once a part of Julius Klein Group, the diamond company combines its direct supply and cutting expertise with a keen eye to the future.

SourcingMay 19, 2022
De Beers’ Rough Sales Up 21% So Far This Year

One analyst cited rising diamond prices and the sanctions on Alrosa as contributing factors.

CollectionsMay 19, 2022
Brilliant Earth Collaborates with Jade Trau

The two have partnered on a capsule collection.

MajorsMay 19, 2022
Jewelers Mutual Adds 2 Industry Veterans to Its Board

John A. Green of retailer Lux Bond & Green and Niveet Nagpal of Omi Privé have joined the board of directors as of May 18.

FinancialsMay 18, 2022
Watches of Switzerland’s Jewelry Sales More Than Doubled in Q4

The retailer also said demand for Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet watches continues to exceed its supply.

AuctionsMay 18, 2022
Jewels from Bette Midler Are Headed to Bonhams

The auction house’s upcoming sale also includes collections from American heiresses.

IndependentsMay 18, 2022
Jeweler Lewis Baribault Celebrates 50th Work Anniversary

The Connecticut jeweler reflected on five decades in the industry and what the future holds for the family business.

Events & AwardsMay 18, 2022
Visit A Mine in New Jersey With WJA New York Metro

The chapter has organized a day trip to the Sterling Hill Mine and Museum in Ogdensburg on Saturday, May 21.

SourcingMay 17, 2022
A New Source in Tanzania Is Producing Cobalt-Blue Spinel

The stones come from a deposit close to Mahenge and have been on the market for several months.

SourcingMay 17, 2022
‘Pop’ the Question With Stephanie Gottlieb’s New Diamond Cut

The jewelry designer is partnering with popcorn brand Angie’s Boomchickapop on a whimsical diamond cut.

ColumnistsMay 17, 2022
What You Need to Know About the Google Analytics 4 Rollout

In the latest article from The Smart Lab, Emmanuel Raheb outlines the website changes jewelers can expect with this new software.

Events & AwardsMay 17, 2022
‘Cartier and Islamic Art’ Exhibition Opens in Dallas

Following its Paris debut, “Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity” has landed at the Dallas Museum of Art.

IndependentsMay 16, 2022
Mejuri Plans to Triple Its Store Count This Year

The fine jewelry brand expects to open 17 new locations, mostly in North America.

IndependentsMay 16, 2022
Karats Jewelers Plans Expansion Into 30,000-Square-Foot Store

The Kansas retailer is aiming for a fall 2023 opening.

MajorsMay 16, 2022
Pandora Announces Plans to Build Third Factory, First Outside Thailand

It will be located in Vietnam’s Binh Duong Province, and construction is slated to start early next year.

IndependentsMay 16, 2022
MJSA Has Released its 2022 Buyer’s Guide

It’s full of hundreds of contacts for jewelry-making supplies and services.

FinancialsMay 13, 2022
Brilliant Earth Reports Strong Q1 But Lowers 2022 Guidance

The company is feeling the impact of the uncertain geopolitical and macroeconomic environment, said CEO Beth Gerstein.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy