The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on a segment of celebrity culture that is still relatively new: so-called “influencers.” The New York Post reports that the agency has its sights set on “pop stars, athletes and musicians who promote products on social media without disclosing that they are being paid for their endorsements.”
“The FTC said Wednesday it had sent some 90 warning letters to influencers and marketers reminding them that they must ‘clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationship to brands’ when paid to promote them on Instagram or other social media,” the story reports.
The move reportedly marks the first time the agency has specifically directed a warning at the celebrities themselves.
“The warnings come in response to a complaint filed last September by Public Citizen and three affiliated watchdog organizations that asked the federal agency to investigate ties between 113 influencers and their products for possible noncompliance with disclosure regulations,” The Post reports.
In the complaint, the groups said: “The ‘influencer’ industry on Instagram represents one of the most prominent and ethically egregious violations of FTC policy.”
The Post adds: “Cosmetics and beauty companies appeared to be among the worst offenders, Public Citizen said in its complaint, but it also questioned fashion houses, footwear makers, alcoholic beverages and energy drinks.”
The list of celebrities noted in the complaint reportedly includes a number of Kardashians, along with Rihanna, Victoria Beckham, Vanessa Hudgens, Lindsay Lohan, Michael Phelps and LeBron James. The FTC declined to name specific celebrities receiving letters.