Social Media Influencer Guides Part 1: Disclosures

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Social Media Influencer Guides Part 1: Disclosures

Apr 17, 2020

For years, it has required a lawyer to interpret the laws, rules and regulations that Influencers need to follow when posting sponsored content. To help our clients navigate these muddy waters, we are updating our Influencer Guides to act as cheat sheets for what you need to know and what you need to do.

Today’s update is Part 1 of 8, outlining the rules for Influencer Disclosures.

The PDF download is available now from the Documents Section of the Influencers | Social Media Practice page.

As we’ve covered in previous episodes of “The Creative Influencer” podcast, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees fair advertising practices, but has been slow to update and adapt their regulations for Social Media Influencers. Hence the prior need for a lawyer to interpret these rules.

In 2009 the FTC released a document called “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This page turner was followed in 2017 by “The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People are asking.”

On November 5, the FTC released a document called “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers.”

The FTC’s Disclosures 101 hasn’t changed anything, but they’ve clarified several things.

There are two big clarifications to highlight here. Please refer to the Cheat Sheets on the Influencers | Social Media Practice page for more guidance and information.

The first big item to come from Disclosures 101 is that if you post from outside the US, say France or Italy or Australia, US law applies if its “reasonably foreseeable” that the post will affect US consumers. That’s a big deal. Brands can no longer skirt disclosure laws by hiring famous European soccer players to tout their products.

The second clarification is that tags, likes and pins are also considered endorsements. This means that if you tag a brand in a post, you need to have the appropriate disclosures.

Many, many online personalities, celebrities and influencers don’t follow the appropriate rules. Don’t use other profiles as your example—“everyone is doing it” is never an excuse to breaking Federal Law. If you have any questions about what to do when, reach out to Pfeiffer Law at 310-451-5800.

Pfeiffer Law Corp is a Santa Monica, California firm that represents entertainment clients.

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