competition watchdog has launched an investigation of social
media stars over concerns they are not declaring when they
have been paid to post about products and experiences.
Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said social media
influencers could sway the shopping habits of millions with
posts endorsing goods or services, but it had concerns that
they may not be disclosing that they had been paid to do so.
CMA said it had seen examples of posts which appeared to
promote or endorse products and offered the celebrity’s
personal opinion on the benefit of a product without clearly
disclosing if they were being paid by the brand.
has written to a range of celebrities and social media
influencers to “gather more information about their posts
and the nature of the business agreements they have in place
is also asking the public to share their experiences as part
of the investigation, and said it was particularly
interested in hearing from people who had bought products
which were endorsed on social media.
celebrities and influencers have millions of followers who
watch their channels to see where they go on holiday, what
they wear, which products they use, the books they read and
endorsements from celebrities and influencers can help
brands reach target audiences and boost sales.
influencers must make it clear in such posts that they have
been paid or rewarded to promote, review or talk about a
product in their social media feeds under consumer
CMA said fans or followers could be led to believe that an
endorsement represents the star’s own view, rather than it
being a paid-for promotion, if they do not label their posts
said it was investigating the extent to which influencers
are clearly and accurately identifying any commercial
relationships, and whether people are being misled.
Lusty, the CMA’s senior director for consumer protection,
said: “Social media stars can have a big influence on what
their followers do and buy.
people see clothes, cosmetics, a car, or holiday being
plugged by someone they admire, they might be swayed into
it’s really important they are clearly told whether a
celebrity is promoting a product because they have bought it
themselves, or because they have been paid or thanked in
some way by the brand.”