Danielle Bernstein of WeWoreWhat, who made Forbes’ 2017 30 under 30 list, has 1.5 million Instagram followers and has stated that brands are willing to pay her five to fifteen thousand dollars per post. In an interview with Harper Bazaar she noted that she made six figures in 2015 off her Instagram posts.
However, when looking through her posts it is rare to find disclosures that would indicate to her followers that she was in fact paid to make a post. One of her most recent posts is of nude colored adidas sneakers with a caption that does not disclose whether the post is and ad but tags the adidas Instagram page. If Ms. Bernstein had in fact been paid to make this post she would be in direct violation of the FTC’s Act as there is absolutely no disclosure.
In order to avoid violating the FTC Act Ms. Bernstein, as a promoting party, should have either hashtagged or included the words “Ad” or “Sponsored” in her captions. The FTC requires a clean and conspicuous disclosure alerting consumers to the fact that the post is an advertisement. In the past, Ms. Bernstein has hashtagged “partnered”, for example when she was paid to work with fashion retailer Barneys. Nevertheless, the FTC may find that simply disclosing “partnered” is insufficient. The FTC is also a big proponent of repeating disclosures on every single post in order to ensure clarity for consumers. Ms.Bernstein should make sure to make a disclosure on every single post, and on every social media platform to which she makes the post to (blog, Instagram, etc). Although Ms.Bernstein has sometimes made posts with the hashtag “sponsored”, she has not done so in a consistent matter in compliance with the FTC. I hold that Ms. Bernstein has NOT mastered the art of disclosure and has violated the FTC Act!
Of course it is unfair to single out Ms. Bernstein, as the practice of violating the FTC Act is rampant among the fashion industry’s most successful influencers. So tune in next time to see who has, and has not, mastered the art of disclosure.