Facebook Inc (who own Instagram, lest we forget) have announced their commitment to a new policy which will make it “much harder” for users to post advertisements or sponsored content to the platform without correctly and prominently labelling the posts as such.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have been looking into the use of the platform in the U.K, and say that Instagram has promised to now ask users “to confirm if they have been incentivised in any way to promote a product or service and, if so, require them to disclose this fact clearly.” Facebook will allegedly be using their technology to scrape the platform’s posts and detect where the labelling hasn’t been properly applied, in order to report the creator to the brand involved. Dun dun duuun.
It’s widely known that if a user is posting something onto Instagram that they’ve been paid to mention or promote, the user has to state that on their post, either by tagging the partner company in a ‘paid partnership’ status, or featuring #ad in the caption or image itself – but the practice is quite diluted and it can be difficult to understand if a creator or celebrity is mentioning a product because they’re genuinely a fan, or because they’re genuinely a fan of all the money coming their way for posting about it.
This new move is being called ‘a crackdown on hidden advertising’ and will affect users in the U.K. and any advertising content that targets an audience in the U.K.
“For too long, major platforms have shied away from taking responsibility for hidden advertising on their site,” said Andrea Coscelli, the head honcho at the CMA. “So this commitment to tackle hidden adverts and overhaul the way people post on Instagram – making it difficult for users to ignore the law – is a welcome step forward. These changes mean there will be no excuse for businesses to overlook how their brands are being advertised either, making life a lot harder for those who are not upfront and honest with their followers.”
So, if you post partner content on Instagram then you’d better get used to thorough labelling, and start swotting up on Instagram’s best practices.