X Introduces New Ad Display, Eliminating 'Promoted' Tags

You might have noticed a recent change in the ads displayed within the X app. The traditional 'Promoted' signifier at the bottom of the post has been replaced with a small 'Ad' marker at the top right.

This updated ad approach is part of the app's rebranding, aiming to make promoted posts look more organic and reduce their impact in-stream.

While the shift may not be major, it raises questions about whether this new ad display aligns with FTC guidelines on disclosure and meets similar specifications in other regions, especially EU states.

Currently, the FTC requires all ads to be 'clearly and conspicuously' labeled in-app, though previous guidelines used the term 'clearly and prominently,' which the FTC now considers synonymous. One could argue that the 'Ad' tag used by X is clear enough and potentially meets the FTC guidelines. However, it's worth noting that companies like Google have faced scrutiny in the past for their promoted links in Search, which weren't always as defined as the FTC would prefer.

The smaller and more conspicuous 'Ad' tag employed by X might attract attention from FTC analysts, especially in light of the FTC's efforts to ensure online influencers clearly disclose their brand affiliations in paid partnerships. The FTC has stated that hashtags alone are often insufficient in conveying the nature of the promotional relationship.

Considering X's shift away from the more prominent 'Promoted' tag, which had its own line at the bottom of the post, it's possible that it could come under scrutiny. It will be interesting to see how the ruling might unfold regarding this change.

Additionally, challenges may arise in other regions, where regulators could have differing views on this new approach.

At this stage, it seems X is merely experimenting with the new format as part of its broader reformation program. The updated ad display could potentially improve ad response, but it's uncertain until further observations are made.

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