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Instagram agrees curbs on paid influencers, says UK watchdog

Facebook's Instagram has agreed measures to crack down on hidden advertising by so-called influencers on its photo and video platform, Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Friday.

By Huw Jones

LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Facebook's FB.O Instagram has agreed measures to crack down on hidden advertising by so-called influencers on its photo and video platform, Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Friday.

Influencers with thousands of followers can earn large fees from companies to promotes a product on Instagram.

In what the CMA described as an important behaviour shift by a major social media platform, Facebook Ireland, which operates Instagram in Britain, has committed to a package of changes.

"This will make it much harder for people to post an advert on Instagram without labelling it as such," the CMA said in a statement.

Facebook said the company was pleased to be working with the CMA on its continued efforts to increase transparency on when people are paid to post content on Instagram.

"We are also proud to be launching a programme with MediaSmart to help educate young people about branded content and how to identify it," Facebook added.

The CMA said it has been investigating concerns that too many influencers are posting content about businesses without making it clear they have been paid or received other incentives to do so.

Influencers will have to confirm and disclose if they have received any incentives to promote a product or service.

Instagram will also use technology to spot when users might not have disclosed clearly that a post is an advertisement, the CMA said.

Last year 16 celebrities pledged to clean up their act on social media after CMA action, the watchdog added.

(Reporting by Huw Jones Editing by David Goodman)

((huw.jones@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 3326; Reuters Messaging: huw.jones.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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