Celebrities and influencers have been warned over sponsored posts on Instagram

Gigi Hadid instagram

Gigi Hadid instagram

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned celebrities and "influencers" in the U.S. to clearly state when they are promoting products on Instagram in return of payment.

"It is often unclear whether an Instagram user is paid to post a product endorsement or if they genuinely use it", said the group.

In the FTC guide for commercial practices concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials, it states that the material connection between an endorser and the seller of the advertised product must be fully disclosed.

But the FTC said that a number of influencer Instagram posts it reviewed left that connection ambiguous, and the disclosures were sometimes insufficient.

The letter sent to celebrities highlights specific cases where they may have published social media posts praising a brand without making clear they had received free products or services or were being paid for their endorsement.

The posts are targeted by The Federal Trade Commission, who is looking after whether a post has referenced a brand or directly endorsed products.

"In addition, where there are multiple tags, hashtags, or links, readers may just skip over them, especially where they appear at the end of a long post".

Strict FTC rules mandate that social media users must make plain any financial or other relationships with advertisers, usually by prefacing posts with a #ad or #sponsored hashtag.

This is the first time the Commission has intervened on the issue on social media, but a year ago did reach a settlement with Warner Bros over claims the firm did not disclose it had paid high-profile YouTubers to promote one of its video games.

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