Recent changes may have been noticed in the ad displays of the X app, with the conventional 'Promoted' label being replaced by a smaller 'Ad' marker located at the top right corner. This change appears to be part of the app's rebranding strategy, which aims to make promoted posts appear more organic and less obtrusive in users' feeds.
While this change might not be significant, it raises questions about whether the new ad display adheres to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines on ad disclosure. Furthermore, it could also face regulatory hurdles in other jurisdictions, especially within the European Union.
Currently, FTC regulations mandate that all ads must be 'clearly and conspicuously' indicated within apps. Past language referred to 'clearly and prominently', a term now considered equivalent to the current terminology by the FTC. The 'Ad' tag might be deemed sufficient according to these rules, but tech giants like Google have previously faced scrutiny over their promoted links, which the FTC deemed insufficiently defined for consumers.
The more subtle 'Ad' tag employed by X could potentially draw the attention of FTC analysts, particularly considering the FTC's ongoing efforts to enforce clearer disclosure of brand affiliations in paid partnerships by online influencers.
Notably, the FTC has stated that brand partnership signifiers used by influencers, such as certain hashtags, often fall short of clearly conveying the promotional nature of the relationship.
Given this context, X's move away from the more prominent 'Promoted' tag, located separately at the bottom of posts, might come under regulatory scrutiny. The potential consequences of this change are yet to be seen.
Moreover, potential regulatory challenges in other regions, and their views on the change, have not yet been fully considered.
At the moment, X appears to be merely experimenting with the new format as part of its broader reformation initiative. This change could lead to an updated ad display format that might enhance ad response.
We will continue to provide updates on any developments.