Facebook, which owns Instagram, is to introduce new measures designed to weed out hidden advertising following an investigation by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) .
As part of the #sponcon crackdown, Instagram will ask influencers to confirm whether they have received incentives to promote a particular product or service before publishing a post.
The app is also introducing new algorithms designed to spot hidden advertising. A recent survey found that more than three quarters of Instagram ads have the all-important #ad and #sponsored hashtags hidden in the middle of a post, at the end, or even in a comment.
In addition, the "paid partnership" labelling tool will be rolled out to all users for the first time.
The CMA's chief executive, Andrea Coscelli, said the new measures will make it "a lot harder for those who are not upfront and honest with their followers".
“For too long, major platforms have shied away from taking responsibility for hidden advertising on their site,” Coscelli said. "So, this commitment to tackle hidden adverts and overhaul the way people post on Instagram – making it difficult for users to ignore the law – is a welcome step forward.”
A Facebook rep added: "We’re pleased to be working with the CMA on our continued efforts to help people be transparent about when they are paid to post content on Instagram.
“We are also proud to be launching a programme with MediaSmart, to help educate young people about branded content and how to identify it."
Encouragingly, 88 percent of UK influencers who responded to a 2019 survey said they believe it's important to be honest about sponsored posts.
The survey also found that UK influencers are most likely to charge between £100 and £250 for a post – less than the sizeable sums many of us associate with influencer culture.