Influencers are forming their own lobbying group

Priority #1: Lobby the FTC.


July 3, 2020

Get your Facetune ready: Influencers are gearing up for their moment in the political spotlight.

This week, a small set of TikTok tastemakers and IG mavens banded together to launch a trade group, the American Influencer Council.

Part of their goal is to legitimize influencing as an industry. The AIC wants to fund market research into the influencer economy and build a mentoring program for rising stars.

Another mission? Political lobbying.

Washington is not prepared for these skincare routines

The arrival of the AIC is well timed. The FTC is reviewing a topic near and dear to the hearts — and wallets — of influencers: Ad disclosures.

The current law of the land is the FTC’s Endorsement Guide, which states that any connection between an endorser and the seller of a product must be “clearly and conspicuously disclosed.”

But the guide is nonbinding, and there’s no real penalty for violating it.

Lord & Taylor got in trouble with the FTC for a 2015 campaign. The company failed to disclose that it paid ~50 influencers to post in a paisley dress on Instagram. An FTC commissioner pointed out to TechCrunch that the company didn’t have to apologize, offer refunds, or even send a notice to customers.

The FTC wants to start levying fines against bad actors. And the AIC agrees. Rule-breakers are a drag on business.

Unveiling the influencer political platform

A few of the AIC’s other demands:

  • That ad-disclosure techniques — both their language and visual prominence — be standardized across the major social networks.
  • That the FTC review the Endorsement Guide every 3 years, instead of the glacial pace of every 10.
  • That the FTC put more resources into educating new influencers about its rules.

If you have a mildly successful Insta account for your golden retriever and you want in on this new political movement, I have bad news: Admission to the AIC is invite-only. And frankly, Rex’s doggy bandana is very 2017.

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