TILT seminar: Catalina Goanta
Undisclosed social media advertising as a systemic risk under the Digital Services Act: Evidence from 12 years of Instagram data
The Digital Services Act has left influencer marketing out of its scope of application. This is a grave oversight. Influencer marketing is a popular advertising strategy consisting of content monetization. To further the understanding how content monetisation on social media has evolved as a dynamic ecosystem, I will rely on evidence from an original longitudinal study reflecting 12 years of Instagram data to unveil how influencers engage in self-disclosure practices. The dataset behind the study, consisting of over 1 million posts by 50 mega and 50 micro-influencers each from Brazil, Germany, Netherlands and the US, shows how deeply underdisclosed influencer marketing is as an advertising strategy on social media. The findings will be interpreted in the light of earlier work showing the same underdisclosure phenomenon. This raises important discussions under the Digital Services Act relating to the systemic risks platforms ought to identify and be held accountable for.
Catalina Goanta is an associate professor in law and technology at Utrecht University, and the Principal Investigator of the HUMANads ERC Starting Grant (’22-’27).