Instagram requiring birthdates, FTC’s guide to influencer disclosures, and 93% of reporters favor email pitches

Also: Google sued over copyright claim, Ford and McDonald’s team up for caffeinated sustainability, how execs are involved in PR efforts, and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a guide, “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers,” which outlines rules for disclosing any “financial, employment, personal or family relationship” that social media rock stars have with the organizations they post about online.

Along with using hashtags such as #ad, disclosures on pictures (including via Instagram or Snapchat) must be superimposed on the image, not just in the description. In a similar vein, disclosures must be included inside videos and not just the descriptions. When livestreaming, influencers should repeat the disclosure periodically. Brand managers should share this information with their influencer partners to ensure these rules are followed.

How do you work with partners on best practices about disclosures? Share your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.

Here are today’s top stories:

Instagram adds age requirement

The social media platform is now requiring users to enter their birthdate to use the app, instead of the prior practice of checking a box affirming that the user is at least 13 years old.

In a blog post, Instagram wrote:

… Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall. Your birthday will not be visible to others on Instagram, but you’ll be able to see it when viewing your own private account information.

Why it matters: Though Instagram says it’ll use the feature for “more age-appropriate experiences” (read: to keep the social media platform out of a PR crisis), it’s also going to use members’ birthdates to target ads within the app. Marketers, this means that you might soon find more effective ways of reaching certain demographics on the Facebook-owned app.


Are you looking to use podcasts to reach your audience in 2020?

PR Daily Editor Ted Kitterman caught up with the team at Trek Bicycles that launched a podcast to connect with cycling enthusiasts and casual bikers. Brand Director Eric Bjorling shares the lessons he and his team learned by working on the series.

Top takeaways include:

  • Specify your content goals.
  • Get top leaders on board early.
  • Plan to invest plenty of time promoting your show.

Hear the full story here.


Muck Rack’s “The State of Journalism 2019” report revealed that the majority of reporters view PR relationships as “mutually beneficial,” even though they don’t consider them partnerships.

Image courtesy of Muck Rack

However, that doesn’t mean journalists enjoy being blasted with pitches. About two-thirds (65%) want to be pitched between 9 and 11 a.m. Keep it short and sweet (only 6% want pitches over three paragraphs) and through email, unless you know a particular reporter would like your pitch through Twitter or over the phone (and they probably don’t want the latter).

Image courtesy of Muck Rack.

Google sued for ‘stolen’ song lyrics

 Genius, a website repository of song lyrics, filed a lawsuit against the search giant, alleging Google is “copying its lyrics data,” as Engadget reported. When people use Google to search for song lyrics, Genius says that the lyric-licensing company LyricFind pulls them directly from Genius’ website and places them on Google’s search results, decreasing Genius’ website traffic.

 Why you should care: You might not be locked into a copyright or trademark battle, but you would be wise to carefully observe those laws whenever you create and publish any type of content. Observe the best practice of scanning the internet for your own created content, as well, to prevent images, articles and videos that are yours from being used illegally by others.

Don’t assume you know copyright law, either. Check out these tips from a copyright expert.


Ford and McDonald’s have partnered to announce a new sustainability measure: The fast-food chain’s coffee chaff will be used to form a composite that can be used in making auto parts, such as headlamp housings.

PC Mag reported that the production process with coffee chaff requires 25% less energy, another sustainability win.


We asked how involved your executives and leaders are with your branded content and campaigns, and 40% of you said there is a lot of interaction on certain projects, while 33% said executives are involved only when asked or given specific directives. Though 20% have leaders who are the face of their organizations, 7% struggle with executives’ not understanding the value of PR.


What’s your view on branded podcasts, and how are you planning to use them in 2020?

Share your insights, along with what you’re listening to, under the hashtag #MorningScoop.


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