With much fanfare, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continues to take actions relating to so-called “social media influencers” who allegedly fail to disclose material connections to the products or brands they endorse. Recurring enforcement actions and guidance—and the FTC’s ongoing promotion of its own efforts, such as through Twitter chats—make it clear that the FTC believes that its message has still not been heard by all of the players in this advertising ecosystem, including influencers themselves.
In short, any endorsements in any medium where the endorser has a material connection of any kind to the endorsed advertiser must be disclosed.
The most recent developments include an enforcement action against a company—and two of its officers—in connection with endorsements of the company made by the officers in YouTube videos and in social media. Before turning to this case, however, we provide a brief overview of how the FTC has gotten here.