Social media marketers: Beware the Federal Trade Commission.
The agency charged with regulating truth-in-advertising is signaling that it intends to crack down on social media endorsements that aren’t explicitly labeled as such.
The focus will be on contests and relationships with endorsers on social media.
The agency fired its first social warning shot in March 2014, sending a letter to Cole Haan warning that a contest it sponsored on Pinterest was potentially deceptive. At issue, the requirement for users to pin photos from the footwear and accessory brand’s website for a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree. Because those Pinterest posts were incentivized, the FTC said, they needed to include a disclosure. The FTC didn’t take enforcement action at the time partly because it hadn’t yet publicly offered guidance about that particular scenario.