In recent years, Instagram has experienced a massive rise in popularity - so much so that some in the first wave of bloggers have shut down their websites to focus purely on sharing via the social media app. And we know that Instagram posts can mean big business for celebrities and style stars alike, which is why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States announced around this time last year that it would be cracking down on posts with the hashtags #sp, #ad, #sponsored and the like. The FTC ruled that paid-for posts must have the identifying hashtags at the very beginning of the post so that consumers and followers weren’t misled.
Now, Instagram has taken the notion one step further with the announcement that it would be introducing a feature that will clearly identify sponsored posts. In a blog post on their website, the team wrote, "As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it's important to ensure the community is able to easily recognise when someone they follow is paid to post content. In the coming weeks, you'll start to see a new 'Paid partnership with' tag on posts and stories. This feature will help creators more clearly communicate to their followers when they are working in partnership with a business." The new tag will appear on posts as well as Stories.
They also pointed out that the update is beneficial to the businesses also as it will allow for greater tracking in terms of reach.
The hope is that now there is a clear definition for consumers between genuine and sponsored posts. So the next time you're considering the herbal weight loss tea, you might want to check the tag to see if you're favourite star is getting paid to promote it and make an informed decision about whether or not you're going to try it also.