It’s Time for the FTC to Regulate Celebrity Tweeting

Feb 15th, 2010 | By | Category: Social Media

Kim Kardashian's Twitter pageSome celebrities make big bucks for their tweets, says news magazine Inside Edition. Notables such as Dr. Drew Pinsky, Kendra Wilkins and Lauren Conrad can earn between $5,000 and $10,000 for each endorsement they post on Twitter. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian reportedly garners as much as $10,000 per product posting.

The recommendations are fine when clearly labeled as ads. However, they become problematic when the endorser forgets to mention their spokesperson status. Some followers could be misled by the failure to disclose.

The Federal Trade Commission attempted to tackle this issue last October by passing guidelines that govern endorsements and testimonials. Yet, the Twitter endorsements seem to fall between the regulatory cracks.

Essentially, the FTC guides say that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers must be disclosed. Furthermore, “celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as talk shows or in social media.”

The guides required bloggers who receive cash or in-kind payments for product reviews to disclose their connection with advertisers. The FTC should similarly require celebrity endorsers on Twitter to reveal their compensation arrangements.

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