Q: I am an avid social media user who often gets rewards for participating in online campaigns on behalf of brands. Is it OK for me to click a “like” button, pin a picture, or share a link to show that I’m a fan of a particular business, product, website or service as part of a paid campaign?
A: Using these features to endorse a company’s products or services as part of a sponsored brand campaign probably requires a disclosure.
We realize that some platforms – like Facebook’s “like” buttons – don’t allow you to make a disclosure. Advertisers shouldn’t encourage endorsements using features that don’t allow for clear and conspicuous disclosures. Whether the Commission may take action would depend on the overall impression, including whether consumers take “likes” to be material in their decision to patronize a business or buy a product.
However, an advertiser buying fake “likes” is very different from an advertiser offering incentives for “likes” from actual consumers. If “likes” are from non-existent people or people who have no experience using the product or service, they are clearly deceptive, and both the purchaser and the seller of the fake “likes” could face enforcement action.