Online, Celebrity Endorsements Often Unclear

When celebrities and people with large followings on social networks promote a product or service, it’s often impossible to know if it’s an authentic plug or if they were paid to say nice things about it. Under Federal Trade Commission guidelines, companies and the celebrities they are sponsoring risk being deceptive by not noting that these endorsements are advertisements, said Mary K. Engle, associate director of the advertising practices division at the FTC. Sometimes, they are breaking federal rules called “Dot Com Disclosures” that require clarity about sponsorships, even on Twitter.