Social media platform, Instagram, recently targeted rule-breaking influencers and said that it will do more to catch those who fail to disclose when they have been paid for their posts. Following an investigation by a UK watchdog which found that the platform was failing to protect consumers from being misled, Instagram said that it has decided to report users who inadequately label their posts to the business whose products they endorse.
According to BBC, Instagram’s new tools will be rolled out over the next year. The new features will include a prompt requiring social media influencers to confirm whether they have received incentives to promote the product or service before they can push their posts. Additionally, the company has also decided to build new algorithms in a bid to spot potential advertising content.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that its investigation had found that several influencers were not adhering to the rules. The company called Instagram’s move ‘an important behavioural shift’ for social-media platforms. CMA spokesman 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.
While speaking to the media outlet, Sara Tasker, who is an Instagram coach and author, said that the driving force for influencers trying to disguise endorsements stemmed from perception. She said that the social media stars don’t want to turn their audience off with ads, or risk a drop in engagement or losing followers by being seen to ‘sell-out’. Tasker added that clear disclosure regulation means that the content can speak for itself, and puts the onus back on the influencers to create posts that are valuable and relevant, regardless of payment of ad.
According to reports, influencers with over a million followers on Instagram can earn up to £15,500 per post that makes on behalf of advertisers. Social media stars have become the new frontier for several companies that are looking to target younger consumers. Recently, Forbes also predicted huge growth in the influencer space, suggesting the market could be worth £11BN by 2022.