Social media flooded with advertising not properly labeled
Tens of thousands of false advertisements were found on social media last year despite influencers being caught for the practice two years ago.
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) announced in a report on Monday that it found 21,037 online paid advertisements without sufficient labeling over the April-December period last year. The number of corrected posts totaled 31,064, roughly a 10,000 more since some influencers self-corrected the misleading posts.
Of the uncovered posts, 9,510 were on Instagram, 9,445 on Naver blogs and 1,607 on YouTube. Short-form videos such as YouTube’s “Shorts” or Instagram’s “Reels,” which are less than a minute long, have been found as fertile ground for deceitful paid advertisements, with 633 posts.
Paid advertisements became more covert. These posts now indicate that their content is sponsored, but in places where viewers are unlikely to find or in ways that are difficult for viewers to know.
Of all deceitful advertisements found in 2021, 41.3 percent didn’t label the fact that they were paid advertisements.
Some examples of paid advertisements with insufficient labeling include an Instagrammer posting with a photo of a product but hashtagging only the company’s name and a “thank you.” Another example is where a Naver blog labels the post as a paid advertisement, but in a very light gray colored text which camouflages into the white background.
The Fair Trade Commission has not yet fined a single person for not labeling paid advertisements properly.
The FTC announced on Monday that it is ready to roll up its sleeves to target advertising agencies that repeatedly violate the advertising law.
“We will keep a list of both individual advertisers and advertising agencies that repeatedly commit violations with bad intent,” the commission announced in its report. “They will be required to submit information in relation to their advertising and will be subject to a field investigation if necessary.”
Penalties for deceitful paid advertisements include a fine of 2 percent of the total revenue made from the advertisement or a fine of up to 500 million won ($400,000) if it is difficult to calculate the revenue.
BY JEONG JIN-HO,SOHN DONG-JOO [email@example.com]