Instagram has recently announced restrictions on who can view weight loss and cosmetic procedure-related content. The new policy specifically restricts those under 18 years of age from seeing such posts.
Influencer marketing is governed, in part, by the FTC Endorsement Guides. High-profile influencers often fail to disclose material connections to brands and it is believe that the new advertising policy has been approved given recent social media marketing FTC investigations (CIDs) and enforcement actions.
FTC lawyer and Director of the Bureau of Consumer Affairs, Andrew Smith, has unequivocally expressed that advertising and promotional messages that are not identifiable as advertising to consumers are deceptive if they mislead consumers into believing they are independent, impartial, or not from the sponsoring advertiser itself.
When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience), such connection must be fully disclosed clearly and conspicuously.
The policy is also believed to have been green lit as a result of the propensity for marketers of weight loss and other health products to make unsubstantiated efficacy-related representations without first possessing a reasonable basis.
Reports are that Instagram intends to implement the new age restriction policy where such advertisements are accompanied by commercial incentives. Extraordinary representations are no susceptible to being removed entirely.
The new policy will apply to Instagram and Facebook.
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