Groups Seek End to Online 'Influencer Marketing' to Kids

Kids online privacy advocates have told the Federal Trade Commission that it should declare so-called "influencer" advertising unfair and deceptive when it is targeted at kids. 

That came in comments filed with the FTC Tuesday (June 23) by the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial Free-Childhood, which has been trying to get the FTC to crack down on such covert advertising practices for years, without success. 

Influencers are people, including kids, who get discounts, or free stuff, or are paid by brands to promote, endorse or demonstrate their products or services online. 

Related: FTC Issues Guidance for Online Brand Influencers 

The groups argue that not only has the FTC not responded to their complaints about the practice when applied to kids, they have not investigated numerous, associated, data collection practices. "[D]ue to the FTC’s inaction, influencer marketing has now become a key strategy used by many brands to reach and engage young people." 

They are giving the FTC some credit for at least asking for input on the propriety of sponsored advertising to children, it is looking for some action.' 

The groups are looking for the FTC to adopt a rule prohibiting use of influencers for marketing to children under age 13.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.