FTC warns celebrities about sponsored social posts

- At some point in life, all of us decide we need to have something because someone we know had it first. And for many of us, those items we fancy appear even cooler if instead of a friend or a sibling wearing or using them we associate them with a celebrity.

"Not every time a celebrity holds that product is a natural organic thing," attorney Pedram Tabibi said. Companies invest billions of dollars into social media marketing every year paying celebrities with the largest followings six figures for a single post posing with and praising the advertiser's product, he said.

On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission announced it sent more than 90 letters to those celebrities and the companies paying them warning those influencers to label any sponsored post as an advertisement.

"What the FTC is doing here is making sure the consuming public is not deceived or misled," Tabibi said.

FTC endorsement code requires celebrities to disclose a post as an ad in the first three lines of an Instagram caption so viewers don't have to click "more" to see it and specifies that the hashtags "#sp" and "#partner" do not suffice.

"Just in the same way if you wanted to go to a restaurant and you read a review, if you knew that review was being paid for, that might affect your opinion of whether or not you wanted to go to the restaurant," Tabibi said.

While Tabibi recognized this volley of letters as only reminders to the legions of Kardashians -- actual and imitating --pimping products in their captions, he thought future violations might result in the FTC forcing a celebrity or company to return the profits they earned from deceptive posts.

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