Instagram to crack down on hidden ads

16 Oct 2020

Instagram is vowing to increase measures to stop hidden advertising over concerns that influencers are not making it clear when they are being paid to promote products.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into Instagram over its failure to tackle “the problem of hidden advertising.”

On Friday, Facebook, which owns Instagram, signed up to a raft of reforms including that the social media platform will prompt users to confirm if they have been incentivised in any way to promote a product or service and, if so, require them to disclose this clearly.

In addition, its ‘paid partnership’ labelling tool is set to be amplified to all users and algorithms designed to identify and report posts that may contain hidden ads will be used.

“For too long, major platforms have shied away from taking responsibility for hidden advertising on their site,” said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

“So, this commitment to tackle hidden adverts and overhaul the way people post on Instagram – making it difficult for users to ignore the law – is a welcome step forward.”

The changes apply to all Instagram users in the UK and anyone globally who directs their posts toward the British market, the CMA said. Instagram will also give the watchdog regular updates on its progress.

Last year around 20 celebrities, including Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora, committed to make it clearer when they have been paid to post about products and/or services.