Instagram has agreed with the UK’s competition regulator to make a host of changes targeted at social media influencers over concerns about hidden advertising on the platform.
Facebook Ireland, which operates Instagram in the UK, committed to modifying its platform after intervention from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has been investigating social media influencers since 2018.
Hidden advertising is illegal in the UK. The regulator stated clear labeling of incentivized posts was required under consumer protection law, so that people weren’t misled.
The CMA has been concerned for years that “influencers” celebrities, bloggers, and social media personalities with large platforms, have been breaking the law by not properly disclosing when they have been rewarded to endorse goods and services.
“For too long, major platforms have shied away from taking responsibility for hidden advertising on their site,” said the regulator’s chief executive, Andrea Coscelli.
Influencer marketing through social media can be subtle. It could take the form of name-dropping a swimsuit brand in a beach picture, or promoting a specific club or restaurant in a weekend party photo.
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