- Industry nonprofit group Truth in Advertising has accused Kim, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie and Kendall Jenner of not properly disclosing commercial relationships with brands they post about on social media.
- Truth in Advertising examined around 500 posts on each of the Kardashian sisters’ Instagram accounts and found more than 100 posts in each account that failed to properly disclose the posts were paid ads.
- Pointing out that disclosures for sponsored social media posts are required by federal law, the group sent a letter to the Kardashian asking them to include an “#ad” disclosure in all their paid Instagram posts.
The nonprofit Truth in Advertising has brought issues surrounding proper disclosures of paid influencer posts on social media into the mainstream by spotlighting the practices of the Kardashian clan. The news comes as the FTC has been increasingly cracking down on failures to disclose commercial relationships in paid influencer posts.
“We’ve been interested in deceptive endorsements for decades and this is a new way in which they are appearing," Michael Ostheimer, the FTC Ad Practice Division's deputy, recently told Bloomberg. "We believe consumers put stock in endorsements and we want to make sure they are not being deceived.”
Earlier this year, the FTC came down on Warner Bros., Lord & Taylor, and gaming network Machinima for running influencer marketing efforts on YouTube and Instagram that didn’t include proper disclosures. These moves indicate that the FTC is putting the onus on the brands — and not the influencers — in making sure that sponsored social campaigns contain the appropriate disclosures.
The Kardashians may be the most high profile influencers to attract attention over failures to disclose paid relationships, but they are certainly not the first. Research by influencer marketing firm SheSpeaks found that 25% of influencers have been asked by brands to not disclose paid posts, although 95% reported making it a point to properly disclose brand relationships in sponsored posts.