Legally Influenced

On her blog “Legally Influenced”, Lauren Carey shares legal tips, trends, and developments for social media influencers. She examines topics such as social media disclosures, influencer agreements, evolving Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidance for influencers, and more.

Recent Blog Posts

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sent warning letters to 12 health influencers and two trade associations concerning inadequate disclosures on Instagram and TikTok. The letters warned that inadequacies of this nature could result in civil penalties of up to $50,120 per violation.  The letters alleged that these influencers were paid by trade associations (American Beverage Association and the Canadian Sugar Institute) to promote the safety of artificial sweetener aspartame and the consumption of sugar containing products. The influencers posted videos... More
  • If an influencer has a long-standing relationship with a brand, is a material connection disclosure necessary in every post about the brand? Similarly, do influencers with their own product lines need a material connection disclosure when posting about their own products? Common sense would suggest probably not. The FTC would say try again. Below are a couple of helpful FAQs on this topic from the FTC: QUESTION: An influencer has millions of followers on Instagram and is well-known as a spokesperson for... More
  • As we previously reported, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released final updates to its Endorsement Guides on June 29, 2023. All parties involved in the dissemination of sponsored content (e.g., influencers, brands, intermediaries) have an obligation to understand, follow and monitor compliance with the revised Endorsement Guides. Below is a summary of the key provisions relevant to influencers, which were mostly previewed by the FTC in May 2022. Disclosure of Material ConnectionsWhere there is a connection between an influencer and a... More
  • The business side of social media influencers is not exactly glamorous, and the legal side even less so. That being said, arming yourself with the appropriate legal tools can help prevent a lot of headaches and lost revenue down the road. Below are a few legal tips and best practices for social media influencers to protect their brand and business. ONE. Trademark Your Personal Brand. Trademark registration protection is key in order to build and protect your brand’s value. Trademarking your brand... More
  • What if you had to tell your followers how much money you received for a sponsored post? This is what one public commenter suggested when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sought public comment on, among other things, the material connections section of the Endorsement Guides in 2020. The commenter requested that the Endorsement Guides require influencers to state the amount of their compensation because it will help “star-struck consumers appreciate the lack of honesty in celebrity posts”. In the most recent round... More
  • The FTC’s proposed updates to the Endorsement Guides provide that influencers may be liable for their misleading or unsubstantiated statements regarding a product’s performance or effectiveness when their representations are inconsistent with the influencer’s personal experience, or were not made or approved by the brand and go beyond the scope of the influencer’s personal experience. Brands may similarly be liable for such misleading or unsubstantiated statements where there is a connection between the brand and the influencer. To help illustrate... More
  • As we previously reported, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released proposed updates to its Endorsement Guides. If implemented, the proposed updates will impact everyone involved in the dissemination and monetization of sponsored content (e.g., social media influencers, brands, social media platforms, ad agencies, public relation firms). This blog post summarizes some of the key proposed updates relevant to influencers. What are the Endorsement Guides By way of background, the Endorsement Guides were first enacted in 1980 and are intended to help... More
  • In March 2020, Teami, LLC (Teami), a marketer of teas and skincare products, agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that, among other things, social media influencers hired by Teami failed to adequately disclose that they were being paid to endorse Teami products on social media. The FTC filed a federal court complaint against Teami and sent warning letters to several well-known influencers who endorsed Teami products on social media (including Jordin Sparks, Adrienne Bailon, Jenicka Lopez, Leyla Milani-Khoshbin... More
  • Have you received free (or discounted) products and/or money from a brand to mention their product(s) in a video or post? If so, certain disclosures may be required by law. As an influencer, it is your responsibility to make these disclosures. When to Disclose A disclosure is required when you have a relationship with a brand. You have a financial relationship with a brand if the brand gives you anything of value to mention their product (e.g. free product, discounted product, money).... More
  • Behind every sponsored post is an influencer agreement. Influencer agreements can range in sophistication, but are generally drafted with an objective of being relatively brief and signed by the influencer with little or no need for negotiation. That being said, these documents contain serious legal implications and should be read carefully and tailored as needed. Understanding the terms of your influencer agreement can (1) maximize your negotiating power and (2) ensure your own compliance. Influencer agreements should address key business terms, such... More