Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Transparency in Tweets

Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) is formalizing guidelines for advertising use of Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and other social media. "Endorsement or testimonials must disclose any material connection between the endorser, reviewer or influencer and the entity that makes a product or service available," explains an ASC exec.

Canada wants to ensure that social media users can tell the difference between non-sponsored and sponsored tweets (or other posts that have been paid for).

The US Federal Trade Commission has already solidified guidelines for disclosure, but Canada's rules don't go into effect until early in 2017.

Meanwhile, the US FTC is pushing celebrity endorsers to be more transparent about being paid to promote products. It recently complained about Warner Bros using influencer-campaigns (paying social media celebrities to say something positive about a game, for example) that lacked "clear and conspicuous" disclosures.

Given the viral nature of celebrity opinions, this is an area where more transparency is needed to ensure that consumers get the full picture of who's behind that tweet or YouTube video or any other message promoting a product. As a result, marketers must stay updated on the regulatory environment to be in full compliance (and keep their endorsers updated on compliance standards, too).

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