The crackdown on "influencers" engaging in undisclosed paid endorsement roiled Instagram last year, but now the crackdown on sexual misconduct on influencers is affecting readership at Mic, Upworthy, GOOD, and Slate, who quietly paid influencers like George Takei to promote their articles on their personal accounts.
The disastrous Fyre Festival, heavily promoted by young influencers, started things off. In September, the FTC handed down the first of many settlements against influencers. now party time is over for the sites that used their VC money to pay celebrities to promote their feel-good content.
Via The Outline:
A story on Mic reveals that Slate, Upworthy, GOOD, Futurism, and Mic itself have ended partnerships in which they paid Takei to promote their stories on his Facebook page. Alongside debates on abortion and a study about astronauts, his page posted links to clickbait such as "Famous Quotes That Are Always Taken Out Of Context" or "Common Mistakes You're Making with Your Eyeliner," prefaced with a pun or one-liner, and never appended with a disclosure. The page steadily shares a post an hour — a pace which doesn't appear to have slowed following the accusations or the dropped partnerships.
Given how well clickbait promotion pays, it's no surprise celebrities do it. Takei is far from the only one, and Lil Wayne and Jersey Shore cast regular DJ Pauly D reportedly do the same — but it should be clearly marked as sponsored content, the FTC notes. Earlier this year, the regulator sent out 90 letters warning celebrities using Instagram to shill products and promote brands that they need to admit as much to their followers.
• Publishers paying George Takei to promote stories isn't just weird — it's an FTC violation