The Kardashian family have added the hashtag #ad to some of their promotional social media posts after being called out by a US consumer watchdog group for allegedly not disclosing product placements on their accounts.
Celebrities and social media ‘influencers’ can earn thousands of dollars for endorsing products on their social accounts, but the posts often blur the line between testimonials and advertisements.
An investigation by Truth In Advertising this month found the Kardashian-Jenner family had over 100 Instagram posts that were paid product placements without being marked as advertising.
The not-for-profit organisation sent a letter to the famous family alerting them to their deceptive marketing campaigns and warning them to fix the posts or face having a complaint lodged against them with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC is responsible for protecting American consumers and has a set of endorsement guidelines, which were updated in May 2015 to address social media advertising disclosure.
Following the release of the letter, Kim Kardashian posted to Instagram promoting a hair product on August 22 using #ad at the start of her post.
Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian have also included the hashtag in recent posts promoting a tea product.
But the group said these corrections had only been made to “about 20 per cent of posts” by the family, leading the consumer advocates to follow through with their threat to file a deceptive advertising complaint with the FTC.
The commission stipulates that if someone is paid to promote a product or has a material connection with a company, they must disclose that relationship since it could affect a consumer’s opinion about the product.
For social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, the guidelines on their website state that “starting a [post] with AD or #ad would likely be effective”.
“The Kardashian/Jenner family and the companies that have a commercial relationship with them have ignored this law for far too long, and it’s time that they were held accountable,” Truth In Advertising executive director Bonnie Patten said in a statement.
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This post originally appeared on ABC News.