Often times, influencers on social media will re-post a brand's ad or Instagram picture; however, some believe that without a specific indicator the influencer's followers will not be able to determine whether the post is genuine content or an advertisement. Personally, I believe that it is clear that the re-post of the advertisement is clearly an advertisement, but I do agree that there should be some level of an indicator in order to clearly define a post as an advertisement.
From personal experience, I have found that influencers mark their re-post advertisements as '#repost.' Because of this, I think it makes sense to have '#repost' serve as a key indicator for re-posted content. Furthermore, influencers tag not only the company but the post creators to credit them for the content. Both of these actions alert viewers of the post's true nature and signal sponsorship, but there are still steps that can be taken to further clarify advertisements on social media. If '#ad' was added in combination with '#repost,' influencers' posts would only gain an extra layer of clarity.
Adding these clarifying hashtags will create a sense of transparency within the social media community without being 'overkill.' If a person is really moved enough by the post to consider the product, then they would have looked at the post closely enough to see the '#repost' and '#ad.' If not, then I doubt it was the post itself that convinced the viewer to buy the product. In other words, people who are scrolling so fast that they do not notice the clarifiers are scrolling to fast to see the product itself.
If requirements are made in addition to the '#ad' and the '#repost,' then I believe it would be a bit of overkill. Influencers are known and chosen for their specific aesthetics, so the more they are limited by regulations the less creative freedom they are given. The more influencers are limited, the less influential they will be, thus making companies less likely to sponsor influencers in the first place. Additionally, increasing warnings and signals on posts could create a negative connotation that will scare potential customers instead of bringing them in. Ultimately, it is best to keep signals simple and clear like #ad and #repost.
Kendall Howell, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Spring 2018 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: When an influencer reposts a brand's ad or Instagram picture, do you think it's obvious that it's an ad? Or do people scroll by too quickly to notice that it wasn't the influencer's personal post? Should influencers include extra disclosures in their descriptions just to be on the safe side, or is that overkill?