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.

Join 1.5m+ professionals getting The Hustle daily news brief

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

100% free, no ads or spam, unsubscribe anytime


How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.

If you don’t like it, unsubscribe any time. Privacy policy.