Government AffairsSocial media stars agree to reveal who is paying them for endorsements.

Influencers under the microscope in the UK

By
|
Influencers told to be “open and clear” with their social media posts.
Influencers told to be “open and clear” with their social media posts. Photo Credit: aurielaki/GettyImages

CNN reported that 16 celebrities, with tens of millions of followers between them, were probed over whether they were posting "misleading" advertisements online - an offence that breaches UK advertising law and carries a potential penalty of two years in prison.

British online influencers have had their social media profiles investigated by the UK’s advertising watchdog.

CNN reported that 16 celebrities, with tens of millions of followers between them, were probed over whether they were posting "misleading" advertisements online - an offence that breaches UK advertising law and carries a potential penalty of two years in prison.

The social media stars said they will now clearly state whether they have been paid to promote a brand or product, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said.

“Online endorsements from celebrities and influencers can help brands boost sales, as millions of fans follow their social media channels to see where they go on holiday, what they wear, which products they use and more," Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said in a statement.

“However, where such stars are paid or rewarded to promote a product in their social media feeds, consumer protection law requires them to disclose that they’ve been paid or incentivised to endorse a brand. 

“Otherwise, they risk giving a misleading impression that a post represents their personal view about a product or service.

"You should be able to tell as soon as you look at a post if there is some form of payment or reward involved, so you can decide whether something is really worth spending your hard-earned money on," he added.

UK consumer protection law requires that they disclose whether they have been paid or incentivised to endorse a brand. The law that related to the investigation carries penalties of fines, up to two years in prison, or both.

Coscelli said the agreement "sends a clear message to all influencers, brands and businesses that they must be open and clear with their followers."

The CMA said ‘influencer’ refers to bloggers, vloggers, celebrities and social media personalities.


JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI