If you’re a blogger, social media influencer, or a wannabe either, you may want to take note: Canada is finally cracking down on paid endorsements.
Come early 2017, new rules will require full disclosure of any paid endorsements or mentions of products and services.
They will apply to blog posts and posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and whatever becomes the next latest, greatest social media trend.
“Endorsement or testimonials must disclose any material connection between the endorser, reviewer or influencer and the entity that makes a product or service available,” says Janet Feasby, Vice President of Standards at Advertising Standards Canada. “If there is a connection, it must be clearly and properly disclosed in proximity to the representation of the product.”
The concern, of course, is that followers are being mislead by bloggers and influencers who are paid in either dollars or freebies to endorse brands online.
South of the Border, such laws have been in place before Instagram and Snapchat even existed. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has implemented similar regulations since 2009. Violators in the U.S. can be slapped with hefty fines and the government body is looking to tighten the restrictions, noting that it’s easy to bury discrete endorsement revelations – like #ad #sponsored – in a sea of hashtags.
Unlike the FTC, the ASC is not a government agency so it will not have the ability to issue fines. As Canadian Business reports, that power would likely lie with the Competition Bureau, which does not yet have formal rules requiring blogger and influencer disclosure.
An absence of disclosure by bloggers and influencers could fall under its rules against misrepresentation and false advertising, says the Competition Bureau.
Top fashion and lifestyle bloggers can make sustainable and even lucrative living with just one social media post a day. It’s pretty insane.