The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has reviewed numerous Instagram posts by celebrities, athletes, and other influencers and has sent out a series of letters requiring that brand owners more clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships when promoting or endorsing products through social media. See “FTC Staff Reminds Influencers and Brands to Clearly Disclose Relationship”, FTC release May 2, 2017 (Available Here).
The guidelines apply when there is material connection such as a business or family relationship, monetary payment, or the gift of a free product. In such a case, the relationship disclosure must be in the first three lines of the post. Last year’s FTC settlement with Warner Bros determined that disclosures “below the fold” in YouTube video descriptions were inadequately conspicuous. The FTC states that #Ad and #Sponsored are likely be sufficiently clear.