Instagram has said it will do more to protect consumers by ensuring that influencers disclose commercial partnerships in their posts. This follows an investigation by UK watchdog The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that found several influencers were not disclosing when they had been paid for their posts and were not adhering to the rules.  In the UK, influencers are required to disclose paid-for posts with the hashtag #ad or #sponsored in the main caption.

An important behavioural shift

The company called Instagram’s move ‘an important behavioural shift’ for social media platforms. A CMA spokesperson said that Instagram’s new move will make it much harder for people to post an advertisement on the platform without labelling it as such.

Last month, research from Awin found that more than three-quarters of influencer adverts on Instagram hid their disclosures within their posts. According to regulations, influencer marketing labels need to be prominent enough that consumers will easily notice them, and hiding them lower down may actually still be in violation of official rules.

Instagram plans to tackle the problem by rolling out new tools next year to help combat the spread of misinformation. This will include a prompt requiring influencers to confirm whether they have received incentives to promote a product or service before they can publish their post, and new algorithms built to detect potential advertising content. It will then look to alert the relevant business, informing them of the platform rules around such.

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