Celebrities have a bad habit of not labeling their advertisements on Instagram, a new study from Mediakix found. A staggering 93% of brand-promoting posts from the most-followed celebrities on Instagram were not labeled as advertisements, making them non-compliant with the FTC’s guidelines.
Katie Notopoulos at BuzzFeed News took a closer look at the report, which found that 32 of the top 50 celebs made some sort of sponsored post. But the majority of posts did not meet the FTC’s guidelines.
While Mediakix cannot release the list of Instagram ads, they allowed BuzzFeed News to view the list and confirm their findings.
To come to their conclusion, Mediakix first looked at posts in the month of April, and counted how many of those appeared to be ads – 152 in total. They then dissected the posts to determine how many of them were adhering to FTC guidelines. Out of the 152 posts, only 9 were compliant.
FTC compliant, in simple terms, means that the posting is clearly an advertisement, meaning the celeb was paid in cash or free stuff for their post. The hashtags #sponsored and #ad are preferred.
The only exception to the rule is promotion of artistic projects the celebrity worked on, such as films, photoshoots and album releases.
Some celebs have long-term sponsor posts, while others are paid for one-off promotional posts. Some get small freebies, while others get expensive swag for their advertisement.
BuzzFeed News points out that among the long-term sponsor posts, all but one advertisements were breaking the FTC’s guidelines. These long-term sponsorships are the most frequent violators of the FTC’s policy.
Failure to disclose ads on Instagram is an ongoing problem for the FTC and for consumers, who often can’t tell if the celebrity is truly using the product or being paid to promote it.
While the FTC plans to enforce stricter rules, celebrities continue posting whatever they please.