Customer reviews are highly effective in getting individuals to make their final purchasing decisions. While Google greatly frowns on fake reviews, they have managed to tackle this growing issue through the complete removal of fake google reviews. Surprise, surprise! Google is robust enough to detect whether or not reviews are honest. But what about social media channels, like Instagram and Facebook? You’ve likely scrolled through your news feed about a hundred times only to find videos and photos of A-List celebrities (hello Kardashian clan!) promoting the newest teeth whitening gadget or fun subscription box.
Similarly to Google, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has knocked down many celebrity players on their Instagram feeds. When an influencer is sent free goodies in exchange for a Google review or social media promotional blast, they must indicate that the post is sponsored. This can be done through the use of hashtags, such as #gifted or #nameofsponsoredcompany. You may have noticed that YouTube bloggers must also indicate whether or not the new item that they are showcasing was sponsored or not.
When it comes to celebrity influencers, which happens to be all the rage now, several have been spotted with reviews that were flagged for removal by the FTC. Amber Rose made an unclear statement on her Instagram feed stating that she loved her dress from Fashion Nova. This brings up the grey zone where readers are left wondering whether Rose actually bought the dress herself and just wanted to show it off, or whether she received it as a sponsorship. Over 90% of the ads that well-known celebrities disclose on Google and their social media sites are improperly disclosed, which can quickly alarm the search engine result company and the FTC. The FTC has even had to send personalized letters to repeat celebrity offenders, educating them about the rules of the game.