Saturday, September 25, 2021

British watchdog names social media influencers for breaking ad disclosure rules

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Influencers Chloe Ferry, Chloe Khan, Jodie Marsh and Lucy Mecklenburgh were named by the British advertising watchdog for repeatedly failing to disclose advertisements on their social media handles.

They have been listed on a new dedicated page on the Advertising Standards Authority’s, ASA, website as the regulator escalated enforcement action against influencers.

Influencers who do not make it clear to followers when they have received payment for a post in spite of being put on notice.

The four influencers would remain on the list for three months and be subjected to enhanced spot checks by the ASA’s monitoring teams.

The ASA warned that other brands and influencers would be added if they similarly repeatedly break the rules.

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The watchdog revealed in March that it had been monitoring the Instagram accounts of 122 UK-based influencers, finding that its rules around ad disclosure were being followed just 35 per cent of the time.

The ASA said its compliance team contacted Ferry, Khan, Marsh and Mecklenburgh and asked them to provide an assurance that they would include clear and upfront ad labels in their advertising posts.

All four either failed to provide such an assurance in the first instance or subsequently reneged on it.

Should inclusion on the new web page fail to work, the ASA said it could go further still by taking out ads naming influencers, working with social media platforms to have their content removed or referring them to statutory bodies for possible fines.

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Last month, “Geordie Shore’s’’ Ferry, 25, was one of three reality TV stars reprimanded by the ASA for promoting debt advice service Debt Slayers without revealing that she was being paid.

In May, the ASA banned posts on television personality Marsh’s Instagram account for including unauthorized health claims about food supplements and not being clearly marked as ads.

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The ASA said former “Celebrity Big Brother” star Khan and former Towie star Mecklenburgh were included in the list after they were found to have broken advertising rules during the monitoring project.

The regulator did not issue any formal rulings in relation to either personality, both had subsequently continued to break the rules and had been issued with a warning or an informal ruling.

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ASA chief executive, Guy Parker said: “We prefer to work with influencers and brands to help them stick to the rules, but the first influencers to be named on this list have been given every opportunity to treat people fairly about their ads.

“It’s not difficult: be upfront and clear when posts and stories are ads. If this doesn’t bring about the changes we expect, we won’t hesitate to consider further sanctions.’’

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dpa/NAN

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