After the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) revealed in 2018 that social media influencers aren’t making such commercial arrangements clear most of the time Facebook’s Instagram has finally committed to dealing better with this hidden advertising.
Commercial arrangements with users are supposed to be disclosed using the #ad or #sponsored hashtags according to Instagram, but the this rule has not been strongly enforced the 2018 report showed.
The CMA later released a guide for social media influencers on being transparent with endorsements in 2019.
Now Instagram has responded, saying it will now prompt users to reveal if they have been paid or incentivised and enforce the disclosure of hidden advertising.
Also it will make a “paid partnership” tool available so it is easier for anyone to display a label for disclosing a commercial arrangements.
The CMA says the arrangement will cover UK users and those directing their posts toward the UK.
“For too long, major platforms have shied away from taking responsibility for hidden advertising on their site,” said Chief Executive of the CMA, Andrea Coscelli. “So, this commitment to tackle hidden adverts and overhaul the way people post on Instagram – making it difficult for users to ignore the law – is a welcome step forward.”
He added there is now “no excuse for businesses to overlook how their brands are being advertised.”
We welcome this move but for now we may not be holding our breath. More information from the Advertising Standards Authority on ensuring ads are clearly ads can be found here.