Following a recent investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority, Instagram has vowed to do more to protect consumers by ensuring that influencers disclose commercial relationships within their posts.
In the UK, and in many other nations, influencers are required to flag commercial arrangements by tagging their posts with #ad or #sponsored. But the CMA has found that many don’t do this. That could see Instagram itself face legal action – and in order to avoid such, Instagram has vowed to increase its action on sponsored posts.
Instagram plans to tackle the issue on two fronts:
- First, Instagram’s looking to add a new prompt which would require influencers to confirm whether they’ve received incentives to promote a product or service before they can publish their post
- Instagram’s also developing new algorithms to detect potential advertising content. It would then look to alert the relevant business, informing them of the platform rules around such
This has been a long-standing concern – Instagram’s been working to address issues around proper disclosure in influencer marketing for years. Back in 2017, the platform added an option to tag a business partner in your post, in order to provide more clarity around such.
But as noted, many users still fail to adhere to the rules – and even when people do actually add the relevant tags, most still fail to meet the specific regulatory requirements.
A recent study found that more than three quarters of influencer promotions on Instagram hide the #ad or #sponsored disclosure beyond the main caption, meaning that users need to expand the text for the disclosure to be seen. According to regulations, influencer marketing labels need to be prominent enough that consumers will easily notice them, and hiding them lower down may actually still be in violation of official rules, and could also come under scrutiny.
Really, all influencer/brand partnerships, in all regions, should be required to use the partner tag, and I suspect that’s where Instagram will eventually move on this. But right now, the platform’s only committing to rolling out increased disclosure tools over the next year, and it’s not clear if the new measures will apply in all regions as yet.
But if you run influencer promotions, it may be worth tightening up your processes, and ensuring you’re providing clarity on partnerships ahead of the new push. The details may be unclear, but we do know that change is coming, and the expectations around such are likely to be ramped up very soon.
New Screenshots Highlight How Snapchat’s Coming ‘Family Center’ Will Work
Snapchat’s parental control options look close to launch, with new screenshots based on back-end code showing how Snap’s coming ‘Family Center’ will look in the app.
As you can see in these images, shared by app intelligence company Watchful (via TechCrunch), the Family Center will enable parents to see who their child is engaging with in the app, along with who they’ve added, who they’re following, etc.
That could provide a new level of assurance for parents – though it could also be problematic for Snap, which has become a key resource for more private, intimate connection, with its anti-public posting ethos, and disappearing messages, helping to cement its place as an alternative to other social apps.
That’s really how Snap has embedded its niche. While other apps are about broadcasting your life to the wider world, Snap is about connecting with a small group of friends, where you can share your more private, secret thoughts, without concern of them living on forever, and coming back to bite you at a later stage.
That also, of course, means that more questionable, dangerous communications are happening in the app. Various reports have investigated how Snap is used for sending lewd messages, and arranging hook-ups, while drug dealers reportedly now use Snap to organize meet-ups and sales.
Which, of course, is why parents will be keen to get more insight into such, but I can’t imagine Snap users will be so welcoming of an intrusive tool in this respect.
But if parents know that it exists, they may have to, and that could be problematic for Snap. Teen users will need to accept their parents’ invitation to enable Family Center monitoring, but you can see how this could become an issue for many younger users in the app.
Still, the protective benefits may well be worth it, with random hook-ups and other engagements posing significant risks. And with kids as young as 13 able to create a Snapchat account, there are many vulnerable youngsters engaging in the app.
But it could reduce Snap’s appeal, as more parents become aware of the tool.
Snapchat hasn’t provided any further insight into the new Family Center, or when it will be released, but it looks close to launch based on these images.
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