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Instagram agrees curbs on paid influencers, says UK watchdog

SCI & TECH
By Reuters | October 16th 2020

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.

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of the Instagram logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. [Reuters]

Influencers with thousands of followers can earn large fees from companies to promote 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.

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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.

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