Digital Celebrities Rely on New Trade Group to Set Ad Disclosure Rules
Andrew Fitzpatrick, online-famous for his humorous beat-boxing videos under the pseudonym 80Fitz, makes money from work for brands as an influencer, incorporating their products into his videos. The problem? There aren’t clear rules for how to say he’s been paid.
“I’ve done 25 to 30 campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and I think over the years the disclosure practices have literally never been consistent,” he said. “Sometimes they want a hashtag, sometimes they don’t require any disclosure at all.” The hashtags vary, too, from the clear #ad label to the more vague #partner.
The Federal Trade Commission requires these sponsored influencer posts on social media such as Instagram and Twitter to disclose that they’re ads. The agency sent several dozen warning letters to brands and online celebrities earlier this year to remind them to do so. Still, the practice isn’t consistent. Now Fitzpatrick is pinning his hopes on a new trade group to clear things up.