Hidden Advertisements

Instagram is one of the world’s largest mobile ad platforms with a growing population of 500 million but are all of these advertisements properly disclosed?

This social media platform allows you to do promotions unaffiliated with Instagram if the proper guidelines are followed. The FTC (Federal trade commission) works to protect Instagram users from the hidden advertisements in “street style” posts. @jayscale reported to Highsnobiety  that he does not include signifiers unless requested by the company.

Celebrities like the Kardashian’s have been known to use unethical advertising practices. Truth in Advertising uncovered the truth about their Instagram posts and lack of disclosure and gave them a week from their notice before they reported them to the FTC for an official investigation. Together the sisters have about a 300 million following.

The FTC regulations are meant to protect the consumer considering they could have a different opinion if they knew a product was being promoted for payment but as well as to enforce all disclosures such as health codes. The biggest concern was about a year ago when Kim Kardashian posted advertising a morning sickness medication without disclosing any side effects.


Screenshot curtsey of Highsnobiety

FTC has forced her to remove the post.

How do we regulate ads on Instagram? Considering advertisement now strives to be more settle and relatable it is hard to find all posts made for the exchange of money. Organizations like Truth About Advertising are one of the steps consumers have taken to uncover misleading promotions.

Instagram is only one example of hidden advertisements other platforms like YouTube are more strict about disclosures and ensure the viewers know the commercial relationship of who they may be watching. Most people do not enjoy so much advertisement and hiding the relationship is misleading, not allowing the consumer to make an accurate opinion.

Blair Fowler one of the first beauty gurus to gain a large following on YouTube now gets many unsatisfied viewers who basically watch commercials now. Although Ms. Fowler is not doing anything wrong because of her full sponsorship disclosure other influencers who fail to do so are. This is a perfect example of how a consumer’s opinion may change when they realize a promotion was paid for.


Screenshot from Youtube.com/BlairFowler

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism