social media influencer, emoji, FTC disclosure requirement, social media marketing, Unicode Consortium, FTC compliance guidelines


In examining the rise of influencer marketing and emoji’s concurrent surge in popularity, it naturally follows that emoji should be incorporated into the FTC’s required disclosures for sponsored posts across social media platforms. While current disclosure methods the FTC recommends are easily jumbled or lost in other text, using emoji to disclose material connections would streamline disclosure requirements, leveraging an already-popular method of communication to better reach consumers. This Note proposes that the FTC adopts an emoji as a preferred method of disclosure for influencer marketing on social media. Part I discusses the rise of influencer marketing, the FTC and its history of regulating sponsored content, and the current state of regulation. Part II explores the proliferation of emoji as a method of communication, and the role of the Unicode Consortium in regulating the adoption of new emoji. Part III makes the case for incorporating emoji as a method of disclosure to bridge compliance gaps, and offers additional recommendations to increase compliance with existing regulations.