FTC & You – Influencers And The Disclosure of Relationships
For many of us, it is absolutely normal by now to see a tweet that mentions #ad or #sponsored to disclose a relationship with a company.
But why are people doing this? Do you have to do this? Does this make sense?
Can you get away with not doing it?
When am I required to disclose a relationship?
As an influencer, you have to disclose your connection with an advertiser that can or will affect an endorsement.
You haven’t seen this a lot until recently, because people kept getting away with it…until the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided to put an end to it. Advertisers range from family, business or even affiliate relationships.
How should I disclose my relationship with advertisers?
It is absolutely important that you disclose your relationship with an advertiser as clearly as possible. When doing this, make sure your disclosure is visible – every time! – when posting / talking about the product / sponsorship.
The FTC Guidelines clearly line out that the relationship should be disclosed “clear and conspicuous”. Basically, this means that people should never be able to question your relationship to the advertiser and should easily and clearly be able to understand that you’ve been compensated to do this in one way or another.
For example: Putting “#sponsored by Valgard Media Ltd. #ad” into your Twitter bio and then never mentioning it again, isn’t enough. If Valgard Media Ltd. were to pay you for advertisement of our page or services, you’d have to disclose this every single time by using #ad or #sponsored.
According to the FTC Guidelines, the disclosure has to be “close to the mention”.
I stream on Twitch and YT, what do I have to do?!
If you’re a content creator on either YT or Twitch, you have to disclose relationships on those platforms, too.
On Twitch for example you should do this as well in your panels and overlays if you’re displaying sponsored content there. This also applies to YouTube if you’re showing sponsored content on screen or in overlays.
Do these rules also apply to Instagram, Bots and Tweets?
Yes, yes they do very much. You should always use #ad or #sponsored in your tweets, IG posts and even chat bot commands.
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